It’s common knowledge that staying hydrated is important for our health. And it’s also no secret that hydration is a particular concern in the summer months when the heat can increase water loss through sweating. In the hotter months, water requirements may increase by as much as 25% depending on activity levels.
Monitoring hydration is particularly important for people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. People experiencing these memory challenges may not recognize their own thirst, may not feel thirsty, or may not be able to adequately express to others that they are thirsty. The expert caregivers at Marshall Pines Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Evans, Georgia, share proactive approaches to ensure that residents are properly hydrated.
Make Homemade Fruit Popsicles
Staying hydrated doesn’t always mean drinking water. Many foods also contain liquids that count toward daily hydration levels. Homemade fruit popsicles contain much-needed liquids that help you stay hydrated, plus healthy vitamins and minerals, all packed in a heat-busting frozen treat.
Making popsicles can also serve as a fun summer activity that can be enjoyed in the comfort of the air-conditioned indoors. Gather a mix of your favorite fruit juices and purees, such as watermelon, pineapple, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and more. Ensure that they are well-blended (and in the case of seeded berries, strained) to remove any possible choking hazard, as people with dementia may experience increased difficulty swallowing.
Then, get mixing! Pour all of your favorites into popsicle molds. Experiment with flavor combinations, or even layer your flavors by pouring one flavor in, freezing, and repeating the process until the mold is full. Once your popsicles are frozen, you can enjoy the hydrating, cooling treat!
Keep Infused Water in the Refrigerator
It’s much easier to stay hydrated when your beverages are fun and flavorful. But instead of sugary, unhealthy soft drinks and athletic beverages, try making pitchers of infused water to have on hand. Add slices of lemon, cucumber, berries, oranges, melon, or even herbs like mint. Once again, have fun with different flavors and find your favorite combinations.
Let the ingredients infuse the water for several hours in the refrigerator, then pour into a glass (making sure to strain the floating fruits and herbs first) and drink up!
Keep Water Bottles Full and Within Reach
People, especially those with memory challenges, are more likely to drink water if it’s visible and easily accessible. Be proactive about hydration by filling up reusable water bottles in the evening so they are available the next day. For example, if you’re planning a typical day indoors, fill up a water bottle or two equaling the recommended daily intake of 64 ounces of water. In the morning, simply take them with you or put them on a table in the room you’re spending time in. If you’re planning a more active day or spending time outside, make sure to fill up an extra bottle to accommodate the increased water requirements due to the heat and activity.
Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Dehydration
Being proactive about ensuring that you and your loved one are hydrated is always the best course of action. Making sure that they’re getting adequate amounts of liquid throughout the day should prevent dehydration issues.
But because the hot weather and certain medications can unexpectedly increase water requirements beyond the normal amount, it’s important to be able to recognize the early signs of dehydration so you can address them promptly. If your loved one is displaying changes in behavior, changes in skin color, weakness, muscle fatigue, dizziness, agitation, muscle cramping, or nausea, they may be dehydrated. Check and adjust the thermostat to make sure their surroundings are kept at a comfortable temperature, and ensure that they begin consuming some fluids. If these signs and symptoms continue or get worse, seek appropriate medical attention.
The hot weather makes it more important to stay hydrated. But with these tips, you can enjoy the last bit of summer while remaining hydrated and healthy.
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of Marshall Pines, contact our friendly team today.