Dehydration is a very common issue among older adults and for a variety of reasons. You can read more about this issue in our article How To Get An Elderly Person To Drink Water.
A crucial part of elderly care is to encourage seniors to drink more water. If they wait until they are thirsty before they get serious about drinking, dehydration has already begun.
But by increasing their fluid intake and keeping their electrolyte levels in balance, you can reduce an elderly loved one’s risk of developing major health issues, including:
- Lowered blood pressure
- Kidney stones
- Rapid weak pulse
- Slow metabolism
- Blood clot complications
- Loss of muscle tone
- Organ failure
I can tell you that as an Occupational Therapist working with seniors, one of my goals was to increase the amount of water my patients drank.
It won’t kid you and pretend it was an easy task, it wasn’t. But hopefully it was worth it.
|Risk Factors||Impacts||Prevention & Treatment|
|Advanced age, cognitive impairment, mobility issues, multiple medications, acute illness||Increased morbidity and mortality, impaired cognitive function, falls, constipation, kidney stones||Screening tools to identify risk, daily fluid intake monitoring, food modifications (e.g. fruits, gelatin), intravenous fluids if severe|
|Comorbidities like diabetes, stroke, dementia||Exacerbation of chronic conditions, altered mental status, syncope||Caregiver education on signs and symptoms, individualized care plans|
|High ambient temperatures, fever, vomiting, diarrhea||Imbalances in sodium, potassium, other electrolytes||Oral re-hydration solutions, evaluation of medications|
|Impaired thirst sensation, inability to communicate needs||Severe dehydration, hospitalization||Regular offerings of fluids, consistent caregivers attuned to nonverbal cues|
So, here are some products that we can recommend for helping seniors to hydrate themselves.
Make Water Easily Accessible
I often recommended The Duro-Med cup holder to my patients. It’s an excellent product for this use.
It attaches to almost any size wheelchair, walker or even bed rail.
It holds containers up to 32 ounces in size (I like these tumblers).
It’s adjustable so you can mount it vertically, horizontally and it can even swing which makes it easier for the user to reach for it.
Overall, it’s an excellent product for anyone who has mobility issues but yet requires to carry their drink of choice with them.
Of course, the tumblers can also be placed in baskets that may be on the wheelchair or walker but putting them in a cup holder such as this will help to keep them from tipping over and causing a spill.
Keeping Track Of Water Intake
My mother filled a 32 ounce plastic bottle with fresh water every morning. She kept that bottle by her kitchen sink and it was her “reminder” to drink that water.
The goal being that the bottle was supposed to be empty by the end of the day.
Most days she was able to accomplish her goal.
If you or your senior loved one requires a specific amount of water intake daily at specific times (usually due to medication needs) then you may want to invest in the Hydr-8 Insulated Time Marked Water Bottle shown here.
It holds up to 1 gallon of water (that’s 128 ounces) and is time marked to help you keep track of how much to drink in intervals throughout the day.
If your doctor recommends that you drink a gallon of water daily, breaking it up into 1 cup every hour makes it much more manageable and doable for almost everyone.
For Seniors Who Have Difficulty Holding Objects
For many elderly adults who suffer from arthritis or have difficulty holding a glass or bottle for any other reasons – helping them to stay hydrated can be difficult.
I would recommend to my patients a 2 handle mug such as the Independence 2 Handle Plastic Mug.
It can handle hot and cold beverages and it works wonderfully not only for anyone that requires both hands to manage a drinking mug but it’s also easier for caregivers to help seniors to stay hydrated.
The sippy cup (and spill resistant) lid works very well for anyone helping someone to take in their drink.
When you order this 2 handle mug from Amazon you get a cup with two styles of lids giving you some flexibility.
There is also another type of “cup” that is useful for older adults who have difficulty when it comes to holding a glass or cup with their hand.
That is Marusya Inc’s No-Slip cup, pictured on the right (click on the image to check the price online).
It’s very lightweight and has indented grip handles making it very easy to hold.
I would recommend this for anyone who has the ability to grasp objects but simply needs a little assistance in holding onto them.
When you buy this from Amazon it comes with a set of 4 cups, each one is 12 ounces and a travel tote is also included with the package.
Using Alexa’s Reminder Skill
You can set up an Alexa device to notify and remind you that it’s time to drink water. You can set it up so that it reminds you every hour, every two hours, etc.
It’s a great way to get a notification! Click here to find out how to use Alexa for reminders not only for drinking water but anything else (i.e, taking medication, etc.)
We hope that these products will help you (or your senior loved one) to remain hydrated each and every day!