Nutrition & Hydration
Why do seniors have problems with nutrition and hydration?
Many seniors reduce their food and beverage intake because they can no longer prepare food and water or it makes them go to the bathroom more often. Seniors also turn to items that do not have to be cooked, like cereal. With regular reminders to use the restroom, our caretakers can minimize the accidents and your senior’s fear of them. And, even if they have an accident, we can clean them up without judgement or the embarrassment that a child and parent might experience.
Ever wonder why seniors salt and pepper their food more than you think they should?
Everyone loses their sense of taste as they age. As food becomes less enjoyable, seniors eat less. However, our caretakers can prepare the tasty meals that many seniors consider comfort food and want to eat. Let us know what foods they enjoy the most and we will fix those for them. More and more nutritionists are recommending that seniors eat whatever food they enjoy and as much as they like. And, many doctors are encouraging seniors to carry an extra 15-20 lbs. in case of sudden illness.
Many seniors might also have pain when chewing or choke while swallowing. Our caretakers can puree food or help them with drink thickeners so that they are not afraid to swallow.
Aging not only decreases our appetite, but it also decreases our metabolism. So, seniors don’t get the same beneficial effect that food and water provide for younger people. Our caretakers can remind them to drink water on a regular basis, they can also sneak water into their diet by encouraging things such as; soups, teas, coffee, jello, salads, watermelon, oranges, tomatoes, zucchini, and celery. Several other fruits and vegetables are considered to be water-rich and are great ways to sneak water into a senior’s diet to prevent dehydration. A salty snack, if appropriate, can also encourage the consumption of extra fluids. Keeping a senior hydrated through various means can be vital during the winter when seniors do not think they need to drink water.
The effects of poor nutrition on a senior’s health can be horrific. We know malnutrition and dehydration are a major cause of many hospitalizations and can even be fatal. Our caretakers can look for the signs of malnutrition and dehydration including discolored urine, tiredness, inability to concentrate, minor wounds that do not heal, dizziness, weakness, and loss of balance. They can communicate this to you and our nurses in order to ensure we can take quick action to aid your senior family member.
Poor hydration also promotes bad bacteria that may cause Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). UTIs can become septic resulting in hospitalizations and could also be fatal. Many times, UTIs may also cause a type of unexpected dementia. Ask most people that work with seniors and they will tell you “Mrs. Smith was acting so strange…that’s when we knew she had a UTI!” However, the dementia often disappears if the UTI is properly treated with antibiotics, good hygiene, and staying hydrated. Our professional caretakers can be a key part of that prevention or recovery.
Loss of sodium and other minerals due to diet can cause heart problems like rapid or irregular heartbeat that can lead to afib or other major heart problems. Medications like diuretics must be given consistently as prescribed or they can cause a loss of sodium and heart problems. Our caretakers will help your senior keep up with their medications to avoid nutrition problems.
This isn’t rocket science. Professional Caretakers can help them eat and drink appropriately by:
- Preparing nutritious, home cooked meals the way your senior likes.
- Sneaking in nutritious foods and those with a high water volume.
- Pureeing food and using thickening agents if fear prevents good nutrition.
- Bringing them food and water or other fluids if walking is difficult.
- Providing regular, consistent reminders to eat, drink and take their medications.
- Observing symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration before they lead to a major health problem.
- Providing Comfort knowing that, if they have an accident, our caretaker is there to help.
It is the simple things that will help prevent some very complex health hazards. Professional Caretakers can be there when you can’t. Call 877-921-9500 or complete the form on the right to get in touch and see how we can help provide the best care for your loved one.
This home care service is great for Seniors and home bound individuals with these conditions.
- Parkinson’s disease
- Memory Loss