Estimates find that 4 out of 10 of seniors living in retirement communities are dehydrated. A UCLA professor of
nursing came up with a way to see if senior citizens are getting enough to drink.
Her study tested the saliva measurements of 53 men and women from area senior centers and adult day programs. The researchers were looking specifically at the ratio of water to the natural
chemicals found in saliva. When the water content is low, it’s a sign that dehydration is present.
Using this test, they found several things. Seniors tended to be dehydrated in the morning hours. This is partly out of a fear of incontinence at night that keeps the senior from drinking water before bedtime. Those with limited mobility also had higher rates of dehydration.
The Risks of Dehydration
Dehydration is a serious issue for several reasons. First, the body needs water. Dehydration puts a strain on important organs like the heart. Second, dehydration increases the risk of urinary tract infection. Third, failure to drink enough water can also affect the respiratory system by increasing the risk of developing pneumonia.
How Can You Tell If Your Dad Drinks Enough?
It’s hard to tell exactly how much water to drink every day. There are several factors. Your weight, activity level, and age impact some of it. To make it easy, the rule of eight 8-ounce glasses of water was created. It’s not exact though.
Most men need 13 cups (104 ounces) of water each day. Some of that comes from the foods your dad eats. Experts suggest about 20 percent of the daily water requirement comes from fruits, vegetables, and other foods. Calculating that, your dad should be drinking a little over 83 ounces of fluids each day.
Water is the best choice for hydration. If your dad hates water, you could add a slice of lemon or lime to make it more appealing. If that still doesn’t work, milk, juice, and unsweetened tea or coffee are good choices. Your dad wants to avoid heavily caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and sugary sodas.
How Do You Track How Much Your Dad is Drinking?
There are water bottles that have measurements on the sides to show how much liquid has been consumed. Some have alarms to make it easy to track when the last sip was taken. They can be handy when it comes to tracking fluid intake.
Have you considered hiring an elder care aide? Someone can spend time with your dad making sure he eats and drinks throughout the day. That aide is also there for companionship and help with cleaning and organizing his daily tasks. Call an elder care agency to talk about rates and schedules.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Laurens, SC, contact Heart of the Carolinas Home Care at 864-991-3116. Providing Home Care Services in Greenville, Simpsonville, Greer, Anderson, Spartanburg, Mauldin, Seneca, Laurens, Charleston, Columbia and the surrounding areas.
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