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For the most part, we could all do a better job of staying hydrated. As a caregiver, it’s even more of a challenge trying to keep your loved one hydrated as well. But keeping your loved one hydrated can have a significant impact on their overall health and wellbeing, both in the short and long term. The effects of dehydration can have an impact on someone who is aging or ailing much quicker and harsher than an average adult. Let’s talk about how to avoid that outcome. In this article, we’ll explore some tips for how to keep your loved one hydrated.

  1. Offer a variety of beverages. Water-based beverages like tea, flavored water, sparkling water, coffee, etc. can help to boost the water intake of your aging or ailing loved one without protest. This is especially helpful if your loved one finds water boring or unappealing, (though it’s important to be aware of caffeine consumption because too much caffeine can be dehydrating). Adding a few slices of lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, etc. to water or sparkling water may be enough to give it a pleasant taste.
  2. Ask them to help you stay hydrated. Someone who is stubborn may not like being told what to do or being reminded to drink water. If this is the case, try asking them to help you to stay hydrated instead. By having them remind you to drink liquids, they will then feel more in control of the choice and, in turn, feel as though they’re drinking with you, not because of you.
  3. Use clear pitchers and containers. By using transparent containers, you’ll be better able to manage the amount of water they’re getting because it will be very clear and measurable. You’ll be able to tell from a quick glance how much water has been consumed. Additionally, the pitcher and other such items are a visual reminder to drink some water.
  4. Get creative. You can mix sparkling water with tea to make it a bit more fun to drink or try adjusting the temperature to a hotter or colder one. Some other examples of creative but hydrating drinks include smoothies, homemade popsicles, and vegetable/soup broths.

    There are many creative ways to sneak more water into your loved one to keep them hydrated. If they’re against drinking water, it may be time to mix it up. The important thing is just to ensure the pros of the alternative beverages (hydration) outweigh the cons (sugar and sodium intake) and stay in balance.
  1. Small intake is better than none. Depending on the person (but especially in the elderly), the prospect of guzzling down a big glass of water may be unappealing or even impossible. Instead of setting yourself up for frustration, set your expectations accordingly. Remember that small consistent sips throughout the day are still good and helpful to their wellbeing.
  2. Keep a consistent temperature. If getting liquids into your loved one is difficult, it can be helpful to maintain a consistent temperature where possible to ensure there isn’t an unnecessary loss of fluids. This could include having them sit in the shade on a sunny day, or going outside only in the cooler parts of the day (like morning and night). Paying attention to this will help your loved one avoid losing hydration through heat/sweat.

Closing Thoughts

Keeping your loved one hydrated is a crucial part of maintaining their well-being. We hope you found a new idea or two for how to do so in a way that is relatively easy or pleasant for both of you.

The role of caregiver is always tough, but you’re part of a large, strong, and helpful community of people including and beyond your family who have been in your shoes. The California Caregiver Resource Centers were created with you both in mind and at heart to be a free resource as you navigate the challenging role you’re in. We would love to connect you with your local Center, which can talk more about local programs and support groups for caregivers, answer your questions, and explain how they can best support you

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