For more information about the author, click to view their website: National Council on Aging
isn't just a refreshing thirst-quencher. It’s essential to almost all bodily
functions, from lubricating our joints to pumping blood to our heart. Staying
hydrated is a key part of maintaining good health. That’s why the advice to
“drink 8 glasses a day” has become a familiar mantra on morning talk shows and
the meaning of “hydrated”? Being hydrated simply means that your body has
enough fluids to function properly. According to the American Heart
Association, the amount of water each person needs can vary. A quick way to
tell if you’re drinking enough is to check the color of your urine. If it’s
pale in color and clear, you are likely well-hydrated. If it’s dark-colored
with amber or brown tones, you may be dehydrated.
is a potentially serious condition that can occur when you don’t consume enough
fluids for your body’s needs. This can lead to
health complications ranging from mild to life-threatening, such as
urinary tract infections (UTIs), heat stroke, heart problems, kidney failure,
and blood clot complications. Since dehydration affects the health of your
cells, it can also lower your body’s ability to ward off infections and heal
from injury or illness.
dehydration is more likely to affect older adults
get older, it’s even more important to stay hydrated. A study from the
University of California, Los Angeles School of Nursing found that up to 40% of
elderly people may be chronically underhydrated.
are more vulnerable to dehydration for a number of reasons:
and thirst tend to diminish with age. This means that even when your body is
craving fluids, you might not be aware of it—and you may drink less than you
need to stay healthy.
adults experience body composition changes over time that leave them with less
water in their bodies to start with.
are more likely to take medications that increase dehydration risk.
to a recent study—older adults' bodies don't regulate temperature as
efficiently as those of younger people.1 This
means that during exercise or activity, seniors are more likely to become
dehydrated through sweating.
mild dehydration can cause an array of uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms.
Understanding the warning signs can help you take action before the situation
dehydration symptoms include:
urine, urinating less frequently
or feeling weak
cramps in arms or legs
decreased cognitive function
tiredness and lack of coordination that may result from dehydration can also
lead to falls and injury. The best way to prevent dehydration is the simplest:
drink more water throughout the day.
water do you need to stay hydrated?
general rule, you should take one-third of your body weight and drink that
number of ounces in fluids. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, aim to drink
50 ounces of water each day.
it’s best to talk to your doctor to determine how much water you should be
drinking daily. They can review your medical history with you as well as any
over-the-counter or prescription medications you’re currently taking. Certain
medications cause the body to flush out more water. And some medical
conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, also make people more prone to
stay hydrated every day
are simple steps you can take to get the water your body craves. Below are some
ideas to get you started:
foods with high water content. If you have trouble
drinking fluids, try including water-rich foods with every meal. These include
cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes and celery. Soups,
broths and stews are also a good way to boost your fluid intake, especially in
the colder weather. If you’re watching your sodium, be sure to opt for
water with you, always. Having hydration at your
fingertips can make it easier to get the right amount of fluids. Carry a
refillable water bottle with you wherever you go, or keep a lightweight water
pitcher and cup near your favorite chair at home.
reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol is a diuretic, which
means it prompts your body to remove fluids from your bloodstream. Limiting
alcoholic beverages can help your body hang on to more of the water it needs to
it up. Pure, clean water is the best way to stay hydrated. But
let’s face it—drinking plain water all day can get boring! Try jazzing up your
H2O by adding slices of fresh lemon, apple, cucumber or berries. You may also
choose to switch up water with other options such as low-sugar sports drinks or
protein and nutritional shakes specifically designed for seniors. Coffee and
tea can have a slight dehydrating effect, so they should not be counted toward
your daily fluid intake.
hydration into your routine. Making it a point to
drink water at certain times each day can help transform it into a healthy
habit. For example, consume a glass of water when you wake up in the morning,
after every meal, and before and after exercise or activity.
you’re looking for additional tips on how to stay hydrated, ask your healthcare
provider. Getting enough water each day is an easy yet vitally important way to
stay healthy and active as an older adult.
Reprinted from the National Council on Aging (ncoa.org).
GOOD NUTRITION IS THE FOUNDATION FOR GOOD HEALTH.A combination of proper nutrients and exercise can help prevent a variety of chronic diseases. Throughout the aging process, bone and muscle mass is lost as metabolisms change. Due to the unique nutritional needs of seniors, taking the proper measures to provide wholesome, healthy foods is key to avoiding malnutrition and disease.NUTRITION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SENIORS Though seniors often have lower calorie requirements, they may need more nutrients than younger people. As we age, our ability to absorb nutrients from our food becomes less efficient. Creating a plan with a health professional, such as a dietician, can help seniors age with optimal nourishment.Nutrient-Dense Meals and SnacksUnderstanding the key nutrients for seniors, such as lean protein, fiber, calcium, potassium, and vitamin D can result in healthier plates. Whole grains and dairy products both provide a boost to a seniors daily nutrition goal. Hearty soups are popular, as they are easily chewed and can provide vegetables, protein, and grains in a single bowl.Hydration, Hydration, HydrationSome seniors begin to lose the sensation of thirst, which may lead to dehydration and difficulty digesting meals. Sugary drinks, such as soda and fruit juice with added sweeteners should be enjoyed in moderation. Low-fat milk helps to hydrate and also provides key nutrients, such as protein, potassium, and calcium. Calorie Intake Seniors who find themselves struggling to consume enough calories each day should consider switching to full-fat milk and adding healthy fats and oils to boost calories. Nut butter and avocados are ideal and spread easily on toast or as a standalone snack. Dietary Supplements When NeededDepending on the seniors health, supplements may be recommended. One example is many seniors are prone to calcium and Vitamin D deficiency, which affects bone health. Supplements may help with deficiencies and can in the form of a daily meal-replacement shake or chewable vitamins and minerals. Focus On VarietyHealth experts encourage people of all ages to eat the rainbow. By filling a plate with diverse, colorful options, appetites increase and mealtime becomes more stimulating. Encourage variety to avoid the boredom associated with repetition.WHAT WE CAN DO TO HELPAt Celebration Villa of South Hills, we believe in providing practical tips to help ensure that our senior residents obtain proper nutrition. If unintentional weight loss has occurred, its important to visit a doctor to ensure there are no underlying medical causes. A doctor can provide a referral to a dietician, who is best equipped to build a personalized plan to promote a nourishing eating regimen tailored specifically for our residents.We understand that seniors who have recently experienced the loss of a spouse or a close friend are prone to loneliness, which can escalate to a depressive state. This makes it difficult for our seniors to cook or feed themselves, even if theyre otherwise independent. Thats why, at Celebration Villa of Teays Valley, we encourage all families to check on their loved ones. You can support them by providing healthy meals or accompanying them out to eat to encourage conversation and enjoy a hearty plate together.Within our senior living community, we provide nutritious meals each day, and there is a strong sense of social belonging built around eating together. We take great care to ensure that each resident is meeting their personal nutrition goals. Our dedicated team works closely with licensed nutritionists to create a menu of wholesome, healthy, and delicious meals that cater to the unique needs of our seniors.
THE ALONG THE JOURNEY PROGRAM WAS CREATED BY PRIORITY LIFE CARE WITH RESIDENTS, THEIR FAMILIES, AND CAREGIVERS IN MIND.The services provided are adjusted to fit each individuals abilities and specific needs. The program has been designed to benefit all stages of memory loss while remaining flexible enough to be adapted daily.The overarching goal is to ensure that each resident, as well as their families, feel connected, respected, and comfortable during periods of difficult transition. The program primarily targets those suffering from memory impairments, whether it be early-stage dementia or late-stage Alzheimers.WHAT IS THE ALONG THE JOURNEY PROGRAM?Along the Journey (ATJ) is a memory care program that launched in 2019 in Priority Life Cares memory care neighborhoods. Fundamentally, it prioritizes strengths over limitations. Activities are purpose-driven and not based on achievement, thus allowing those with memory loss to participate without feeling lost, confused, and agitated.This innovative program begins with a holistic assessment of the residents abilities, both cognitive and physical. Based on the assessment, a care plan is formulated and includes input from the resident and their family, as well as their physicians and caregivers.The plan includes information on the likes, dislikes, and cultural preferences of the resident. To keep the seniors as comfortable as possible, the staff makes every effort to provide a largely predictable routine.FOSTERING A SENSE OF BELONGING WITHIN THE COMMUNITYThose suffering from diseases that affect memory may feel left behind or forgotten. At Priority Life Care, caregivers work in conjunction with the ATJ program to encourage physical motion, stimulate mental engagement, and offer opportunities for spiritual and social connection.Life stations provide a sense of familiarity for the resident through tasks such as folding clothes and operating a computer. This allows the senior to focus on a specific, low-stress task with an attainable outcome.Social engagements such as trivia games and ice cream parties are scheduled, which allow residents the opportunity to become acquainted with other residents. The program celebrates small wins as significant achievements, allowing everyone the chance to be represented.Activities are thoughtfully designed around reducing any agitation and improving the mood of the residents. Social interaction is encouraged to ward off isolation, which can further impair a residents wellness journey.SUPPORTING THOSE WITH MEMORY IMPAIRMENTSMemory loss comes in stages and Priority Life Care recognizes the importance of providing a program suitable for each stage of this difficult journey. Through the integration of senior-friendly tech, residents across a spectrum of cognitive abilities are encouraged to participate in their care by engaging daily.To ensure a successful transition into the residential community, our staff invites residents to bring familiar furnishings of home such as furniture, cherished items, and other domestic objects. This creates an inviting environment for the resident, which eases the initial discomfort of being in a new place.Residents will enjoy a structured daily plan that focuses on wellness and supporting independence, all while ensuring dignity and respect. This environment allows those with memory impairments to maintain functional abilities for as long as possible while remaining comfortable along their journey.Staff with specific dementia-centered training and experience support our residents with memory loss, including accommodations such as dietary oversight, assistance with medication, and general hygiene.
What Role Does Technology Play in Alzheimer's Care? Technology is increasingly becoming an important part of Alzheimers care, providing families and caregivers with an additional layer of support in managing the challenges that come with the disease. From sophisticated tracking systems that monitor patient movements and activities to artificial intelligence-based assistance, technology offers a range of solutions to help ease the burden of caring for an Alzheimers patient. In this blog post, well explore the various roles that technology can play in providing individuals with Alzheimers and their families with improved care and assistance. Technological Innovations in Alzheimer's Care Assistive devices for daily activities: Smart home technology: Smart home devices can be programmed to assist with daily tasks such as medication reminders, turning off appliances, and adjusting lighting. Reminder systems: These devices use visual and auditory cues to remind patients about important tasks, appointments, and medication schedules. Monitoring and safety devices: GPS tracking devices: These devices can help locate individuals with Alzheimer's who may wander and become disoriented, ensuring their safety and providing peace of mind for caregivers. Fall detection systems: Fall detection technology can automatically alert caregivers or emergency services in the event of a fall, enabling quick response and timely medical assistance. Cognitive stimulation and memory support: Digital memory aids: Mobile applications and devices can help individuals with Alzheimer's improve their memory and cognitive function through interactive exercises, reminders, and brain-training games. Virtual reality therapy: Virtual reality technology can create immersive experiences that stimulate the senses and provide therapeutic benefits for Alzheimer's patients, such as reducing anxiety and improving mood.Benefits of Technology in Alzheimer's Care Enhanced safety and security: Technology offers various safety features, such as tracking devices and fall detection systems, that help prevent accidents and provide immediate assistance when needed. Improved quality of life for patients and caregivers: Assistive devices and cognitive stimulation tools can enhance the daily lives of Alzheimer's patients, promote independence, and alleviate the burden on caregivers. Increased independence and autonomy for patients: Technology allows individuals with Alzheimer's to perform daily tasks more independently, boosting their confidence and preserving their sense of self. Potential for early detection and intervention: Technological advancements, such as wearable devices and digital assessments, have the potential to detect early signs of Alzheimer's, enabling early intervention and better disease management. Challenges and Limitations of Technology in Alzheimer's Care Cost and accessibility issues: Some advanced technologies may be expensive or inaccessible to certain individuals, limiting their widespread adoption. Privacy and ethical concerns: The use of technology in Alzheimer's care raises concerns about data privacy and the ethical implications of monitoring and tracking individuals with cognitive impairments. Learning curve for patients and caregivers: Technology implementation may require a learning curve for both patients and caregivers, especially for older adults who may be less familiar with digital devices. Limitations of technology in addressing emotional and social needs: While technology can provide practical support, it may not fully address the emotional and social needs of individuals with Alzheimer's, which require human interaction and empathy. Future Trends and Possibilities Advances in wearable technology: Wearable devices, such as smartwatches and biosensors, hold promise in monitoring and predicting changes in cognitive function, allowing for personalized care and early intervention.Artificial intelligence and machine learning in Alzheimer's care: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to provide personalized treatment plans, predict disease progression, and assist in decision-making for caregivers and healthcare professionals. Integration of technology with traditional care approaches: The integration of technology with traditional care approaches, such as therapy and medication management, can optimize Alzheimer's care by providing comprehensive and tailored solutions. Conclusion Technology plays a crucial role in Alzheimer's care, offering innovative solutions to enhance safety, improve quality of life, and promote independence for patients and caregivers. While there are challenges and limitations to consider, ongoing research and development hold the promise of further advancements in technology-enabled care. By embracing these advancements and continuing to explore new possibilities, we can hope for a future where technology greatly improves the lives of Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Alzheimer's care and the role of technology, feel free to contact us. We are here to support you on this journey.