As I was researching for this post about the methods of getting elderly people to consume more fluids to prevent dehydration, I was suddenly struck by how many of these methods harken a person back to childhood. For instance, drinking from a straw. As a child, drinking from a straw was kind of fun. For the elderly using bendable straws makes it easier to drink, especially when in bed. Try using colorful straws to make the experience more pleasing.
Smoothies and Milk Shakes
Another dehydration solution that may bring pleasant memories to older folks, as well as provide needed fluids, is to serve them tasty milk shakes and smoothies. I remember how my kids always asked me to stop for frozen treats whenever we passed a Dairy Queen or Smoothie King. The great thing about these dehydration defeaters is that they can also be fortified with essential nutrients, which also combat against that other dreaded enemy of the elderly, malnutrition.
Sports drinks and the elderly
If a person played sports as a kid, they likely gulped Gatorade or other sports drink before, during and/or after practice. In 1927, way before Gatorade launched the sports drink phenomena in 1960, Lucozade delivered quick, digestible energy and fluids. The taste of such drinks may bring back fond recollections to older folks who played sports. Just remember it’s best to — due to the high sugar content– limit the intake of sports drinks in your resident population.
Temperature affects taste
Have you ever experimented with serving beverages at different temperatures to trigger recollections of good times while providing needed fluids? Think about it. When you had a craving for chocolate as a kid, you could satisfy that urge with either a cup of hot cocoa or a cold glass of chocolate milk, but the choice usually depended upon the time of year. That’s why the temperature at which you serve those drinks may conjure different memories to different people. So why not try serving an elder a cup of hot cocoa in the wintertime and a glass of cold Dutch chocolate milk in the summer? Different drinks, different memories. Better hydration.
Popsicles and Prevention
Speaking of things that are hot and cold, how about the sun and popsicles? If you were taking a picture to illustrate a hot day, you could do no better than to show a smiling kid slurping on a grape popsicle with the sun overhead. Sweet relief from the heat indeed. Now, take that idea and run with it to the kitchen and freeze some fruit juices in ice trays to make some mini-popsicle cubes. A bowl of frozen fruit juice-cubes supplies a good amount of liquid and maybe even a trip down memory lane to a happier time.
Not just Sweet Drinks
Let’s change solutions to preventing dehydration from sweet to savory. Do you remember coming into the house after playing all day and smelling a savory pot of chicken soup simmering on the stove? Yum. So, why not try serving something savory like soup or even broth instead of traditionally sweet or sweetened drinks, especially on cool days. The bottom line is the more methods we use for getting fluids into people, the better.
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