When It’s Up to You to Keep Your Elderly Loved Ones Hydrated
Despite the fact that many of us enjoy the good fortune of having safe, clean drinking water nearby at all times, dehydration is nevertheless a major issue. Although there may be many reasons for this, older people must deal with particular risks that too often get overlooked. Even in hospitals, the elderly can face the possibility of suffering severe physical harm from dehydration.
One informative article by a nurse named Helen Cowan discusses this topic. We will touch on her observations here and offer a few solutions.
They’re Physically Unable to Drink
As people get older, they become more susceptible to diseases and disorders that may decrease their motor skills or ability to consume foods and liquids. Being incapable of independently drinking water can easily endanger their health, especially if no-one is around to help them or they don’t realize that they should be asking for help.
For those who can’t hold a cup steadily enough to drink from it, long straws might be helpful. They can also talk to a doctor about using a feeding tube or perhaps even an IV. If possible, someone can hold a cup to their lips on their behalf and regularly check up on them to see if they’re thirsty.
Other than that, they can try consulting a doctor.
They Refuse to Drink
For some, the physical and emotional stress that may come with age can cause them to find it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle in later years.
Some types of mental diseases can also urge the elderly to dismiss water. Dementia, for instance, can make them think that they don’t need it, and depression can convince them that they don’t want or deserve it. If medicines or other illnesses have tampered with their ability to taste, water may seem too disgusting to consider consuming.
In any case, trying to hydrate a person who doesn’t want it is, in many ways, more difficult than hydrating one who simply can’t do it themselves.
Depending on their reasons for it, people who refuse to drink water may need to be gently and regularly convinced to do so. Some may even need to see a therapist. Others could use some help enjoying food and drinks in general again, which may require medical intervention.
Whatever is keeping an elderly person in your life from drinking water and staying properly hydrated, take it upon yourself to ensure that they get the help that they need. Some may not ask for it, so be on the lookout and prepared to offer it at all times.
Post by Jess Walter
Jess is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets