10 Simple Ways To Keep Seniors Hydrated

10 simple ways to keep seniors hydrated

The senior population is more sensitive to hydration during the warmer months. There are several reasons by seniors are more prone to dehydration, including: 

  • Medication side-effects 
  • Age-related reductions in the sensation of being thirsty or the urge to drink 
  • Immobility complications 
  • Not enjoying “plain water” 

Family members and caregivers should make it as easy as possible for seniors to get enough fluids. In addition to causing side effects such as weakness, lethargy, and foggy brains, dehydrated seniors can also experience symptoms of dementia, including memory loss, confusion, agitation, and delusions.  

Keep Seniors Hydrated This Summer  

Feeling thirsty is often the first sign of dehydration. But, since seniors are less apt to experience that as they age, there are other signs you can look out for that indicate a need for fluid intake. These include: 

  • Fuzzy or dry mouth 
  • Muscle cramps 
  • Foggy or fuzzy brain 
  • Dizziness 

These signs often go unaddressed because well-meaning family members assume it’s nothing or seniors have become so used to it they don’t realize it’s actually a problem. If you see signs, get your loved one a glass of water or a favorite beverage to see if that helps.  

Further and more advanced symptoms of dehydration include: 

  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Lack of balance or mobility (increasing the risk of falling
  • Confusion or seeming delirium 

If left unaddressed for too long, seniors can wind up hospitalized, when all they needed was to drink more often. Don’t let that happen on your watch! 

10 Ways To Make Hydration Easy For Seniors And Caregivers 

The following 10 tips can help you and your senior loved ones keep hydrated during the warmer months of the year.  

Set water reminders on gadgets 

Seniors and caregivers can install hydration reminders on their smart gadgets with a simple trip to the app store. Programmed to go off at set intervals, these alarms remind you to take a few sips of water from a nearby cup or bottle. A good example is WaterMinder, which is available on both Apple and Android products.  

Is your senior newer to technology? Read our post, How to Support Seniors with Technology. 

Keep water or other favorite (non-alcoholic) beverages close by 

Proximity is everything when it comes to keeping seniors hydrated. If there isn’t water or something to sip nearby, it’s easy for seniors to pass up the urge to take a drink if they are tired, not feeling well, or having a bad day.  

Keep spill-proof water bottles at the bedside, near their favorite chair, at their place at the table, on the bathroom countertop, or anywhere else they are apt to spend time with. Keep them clean and fresh. The minute s/he feels thirst, their instant hydration should be in reach. 

Have popsicles on hand

You can buy healthy, 100% juice (no sugar added) or diabetes-friendly popsicles at any grocery store. These are delicious, fun to eat, and full of water in the frozen ice crystals. You can also purchase popsicle molds online or at your local grocery store to make your own popsicles. Seniors may also appreciate smoothies in popsicle form for added protein and nutrition. 

Make a morning and/or afternoon smoothie ritual 

Speaking of smoothies, they are a great way to boost senior nutrition and hydration. In addition to added liquid intake, the ingredients you select can also boost a senior’s nutrient intake via vitamins, protein, calcium, fiber, and other minerals. Smoothies can also help to nourish seniors who don’t’ have a big appetite or who aren’t feeling well, and you can tailor the ingredients based on their taste preferences.  

Use bottles or lidded cups with straws 

Shaky hands can make it more difficult to drink comfortably for fear of spilling or knocking the cup over. Use bottles or lidded cups that have straws, rather than spouts, for drinking. This is easier for seniors to access and use without the embarrassment or compilation of a spill. 

Stock the fridge with hydrating foods and snacks 

Drinking fluids isn’t the only way to boost hydration. Fruits and vegetables are full of water too. Stock the fridge and pantry with foods that are hydrating. Pre-cutting and preparation make them an easy, go-to snack for seniors. Examples include: 

  • Veggie trays with ranch or hummus dip (carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, celery, jicama, snap peas) 
  • Watermelon (or any melon) cut into slices or balled 
  • Fruit salad with bite-size pieces of fruit for easy nibbling (stir in some yogurt for added protein and probiotics) 
  • Fruit cocktail (softer fruit can be easier for seniors with dentures) 
  • Grapes 
  • Applesauce 
  • Lettuce (salads are a great way to hydrate) 

Harder vegetables may need to be steamed or boiled to soften them up if seniors have dental issues or their dentures make it difficult to chew.  

Create a (non-alcoholic!) happy hour tradition 

Why not create a tradition of happy hour at a certain time in the late afternoon. This can be a fun way for seniors and their caregivers to connect socially, rather than business-mode, while they enjoy a delicious non-alcoholic drink. Happy Hour can also be a time to invite neighbors, family, or friends over for a social call or patio visit, keeping seniors socially engaged

We put together a list of Holiday Inspired Mocktails a couple of years ago, and that’s a great place to start. If the senior still enoys alcohol, limit it to one drink only as alcohol is actually dehydrating. You’d be amazed at how satisfying something as simple as tonic with lime or soda water with lemon can be without the addition of alcohol. There is also a range of flavored sparkling waters on the market. By a half a dozen different flavors and taste them to find a favorite. 

Infuse water with other flavors 

Some people aren’t fond of drinking plain water, and certain medications can change the palate, so that water tastes a little bitter or stale. Infusing water is a simple solution that avoids added sugar or calories, but makes water more palatable and helps keep seniors hydrated. 

Cutting a slice or two of lemon, lime, or cucumber is delicious. Throw in a sprig of mint while you’re at it. Other delicious infused water options are:  

  • Watermelon 
  • Berries 
  • Ginger 
  • Rosemary 
  • Pineapple 
  • Orange or grapefruit 

If infused water is a hit, consider purchasing a water infusion pitcher so you can make more at once.  

Experiment with beverages at different temperatures 

Sometimes it’s the temperature of a beverage, rather than the flavor, that prevents seniors from drinking enough. Try serving the same beverage at different temperatures. You may prefer hot tea or coffee while seniors prefer it iced. Iced beverages may be too cold for sensitive teeth or gums, so drinks may need to be brought to room temperature or warmed up to taste and feel good.  

Swap sweet liquids for savory alternatives to keep seniors hydrated 

Have a senior who prefers savory foods or is restricted on his/her sweet intake? Try sipping soups or broths from a mug, rather than from a bowl. This can be a comforting way to keep hydrated while also boosting calorie intake and/or nutrition for seniors who aren’t getting enough to eat or don’t have much of an appetite. 

We’re Here To Help

Are you noticing signs that your Bay Area senior loved one is dehydrated, doesn’t have enough food in the house, or may need extra support to remain independently at home? Contact HomeAide Home Care to learn more about how we can help. 

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