Improving hydration in older adults

Improving hydration in older adults

In the last article, we discussed three things that you could do to help your loved one get better faster: Staying hydrated, getting enough sleep and being physically active.

Someone once said, "Sure, Katie, sounds easy for you to say, but I can't get my mom to drink enough water." If this is your experience, you are not alone. Today I will share tips for improving hydration in older adults, but first, here is why water is SO important.

Approximately 75% of the human body is made up of water and fluids. Water/hydration is the most important part of health because ALL bodily functions require water. Adults need about 64 ounces of plain water a day for the kidney and the liver to function correctly. Water is to the body what gasoline is to a car. When there is not enough water, the kidney and the liver stop working correctly the same way a car stops running when there is no gasoline. A dehydrated patient can't do the therapy and soon, Medicare would stop paying, and your loved one would have been deemed "plateaued" in our rehab language. If you can improve your loved one's water intake, you will see an improvement in their overall energy level and their ability to tolerate exercises and therapy.

Here are my top two tips for improving water intake.

  1. Flavor the water with either fresh mint leaves, cucumber slices, orange slices or pink grapefruit slices. The trick about the mint is to take about six to 10 mint leaves, gently tap them about six to 10 times, and put them into a jar of filtered water. Tapping the leaves releases the taste and flavor into the water.
  2. Use a short glass and offer only one to two ounces of water at a time te and offer every half to one hour. If you fill a tall glass with water, it could be overwhelming and your loved one will not drink enough. This is especially true for someone challenged with dementia.

Until next time, take good care and stay hydrated! –Katie