With all of the daily tasks that go into caregiving for a senior, it can be easy to overlook a basic but essential one: making sure they’re drinking enough water.
Staying hydrated is important for everyone, and especially so for seniors, since dehydration is a primary cause of hospitalization in people over 65 years of age. Drinking enough water is also important for ensuring that certain medications work as intended.
So how can you encourage a senior patient to drink enough water, particularly if they’re not 100% cooperative? Here are some ideas that can help.
Keep Water Available and Within Reach at All Times
The expression “out of sight, out of mind” also works in reverse—we are much more aware of something when we can see it. Use this to your advantage by keeping water available and easy to access in the home. This could include serving each meal with a large glass of water and keeping a filled pitcher out on the living room table throughout the day.
Offer a Variety of Beverages at Different Temperatures
Sometimes a senior is uninterested in a beverage just because it’s not their preference. So don’t always just offer plain, cold water. Try serving water at different temperatures, from cool to warm, to see which one they like the best. You can also experiment with flavors and textures by adding lemon, honey, soda water, and other things for variety.
Remember that Hydration Comes in Many Forms
People can reach their daily recommended intake of water in a variety of ways. Broth-based soups, for instance, are predominantly water and are a great way to stay hydrated. Popsicles made from frozen juice are another creative way to increase water consumption.
The Bottom Line on Getting Seniors to Drink More Water
In caring for a senior, it’s important to remember that their preferences and comfort matter. Use these ideas as a jumping-off point and adjust your approach based on your patient or loved one’s personal needs as well as their likes and dislikes. It’s never a good idea to demand or force a person to drink more water. Instead, approach it as a collaborative effort based on dignity, respect, and a mutual desire to see your senior enjoy the best possible health and quality of life.