People who take vacations may return home in a week or two to find their houseplants wilted. The plants suffer from dehydration. They have not received sufficient water to maintain their physical integrity. Their cells have collapsed. Dying of thirst, they need first aid to save them.
Elderly patients hospitalized with a list of complaints are often surprised to receive a similar diagnosis. Their intake of fresh, pure water is too limited to sustain good health. Seniors routinely take two to ten medications on a daily basis, but do they wash their pills down with water?
Causes of Dehydration
Home care agencies and trained home caregivers can help older adults to avoid dehydration. As people age, their kidney function and thirst levels decline, and their risk of dehydration rises. It’s easy at any age to forget to drink all the water needed to maintain good health. A home care provider is an excellent source of reminders (like tall tumblers of ice water with snacks) for older adults to hydrate frequently throughout the day.
Another cause of dehydration in seniors is the amount of medications they consume on a daily basis, leading to dry mouths, dry eyes, and dry skin. Concerns about incontinence may also inhibit seniors from walking to the sink for a drink of water when they need one.
Effects of too Little Water
Whatever the reason, a lack of sufficient water consumption poses serious dangers for older adults. Dehydration contributes to kidney stones, falls, infections such as urinary tract infections, sudden spurts and fall rates of blood pressure, and bed sores. Even catching pneumonia is more likely for dehydrated elders, stealing decades of life away from the thirsty. Drinking too little water appears on the top ten list of diagnoses for hospitalized Medicare patients, according to the Health Care Financing Administration, which reviews Medicare spending.
So why don’t people drink more water? A quick reading of answers can be found in a 2016 post on tapgenes.com, which lists twenty excuses the dry-of-heart offer, including such insights as, “I don’t like the taste,” “It’s boring,” and “I can’t remember to do that.”
Friends, family, and home care professionals play an important role in keeping their seniors healthy by figuring out how, when, and where to encourage them to drink water. Those who reject water in favor of sweet teas and sugary sodas may wish to taste infused water. When it’s time for a snack, some zest of lemon or pop of raspberry flavor give cold, fresh water the bounce of an afternoon cocktail. A daily exercise of walking to the refrigerator for a bottle of great-tasting water would double the good that water can do for older folks who can learn to love it.
For Home Care Services in Cordova TN, please contact the caring staff at Personal Care Services MidSouth today!