Caregiver Tips

It’s summertime! This season brings fun outdoor activities and beautiful — but hot — weather. Did you know the senior community is often more prone to the effects of heat and therefore at a greater risk for dehydration? Now is a good time to focus on helping our elderly loved ones stay safe, healthy, and hydrated through the elevated summer heat. 

Causes of dehydration

Dehydration happens when the body does not receive or retain the adequate amount of fluid needed to function properly. If not treated properly, dehydration can cause severe health issues. Common causes include:

  • Intense summer heat
  • Strenuous activity
  • Medications or diuretics 
  • Drinks which contain caffeine or alcohol
  • Illness which cause fever, vomiting, or diarrhea

What should you look for?

Common warning signs of dehydration may include the following: 

  • Thirst
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or feeling faint
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry skin and/or poor skin elasticity
  • Not urinating frequently or dark urine

What you can do to help seniors stay hydrated?

  • Always check with a doctor to make sure your loved one is getting the right amount of fluids for their individual health needs.
  • Create a set fluid intake schedule. If necessary, set timers to help remind your loved one to drink fluids throughout the day. Try to decrease fluids that are high in caffeine or sugar. 
  • Offer sufficient fluids at every meal. This can also include fruits and vegetables with high water content such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and cucumbers. 
  • Keep water within easy reach of chairs and beds.
  • Check urine to ensure it is light in color. 
  • Offer a full glass of fluid with medication. 
  • Monitor skin elasticity each day. 
  • Monitor the environment. Close blinds and windows to reduce indoor heat, and make sure the air conditioning is on a set schedule and working well. If outdoors, make sure there is a cool, shady place to sit. 

It is important to recognize the causes and symptoms of dehydration and know ways to help your elderly loved one stay hydrated. And don’t forget to utilize these tips for your own health as well. After all, you both deserve to have a healthy and happy summer! For more caregiving tips and information, visit our blog.

Before the pandemic that is COVID-19, staying in touch with a loved one in senior living was hard. Now that precautions such as social distancing are in place, those challenges have now become harder. A lack of connection brought on by today’s conditions has elevated stress and created a sense of loneliness amongst both elderly parents and their adult children. Here are eight simple ways to stay connected during these tough times:

Send Them Care Packages

Send your loved on a package filled with their favorite items, personal belongings, and even memorable items such as photos and postcards to make them feel involved. Another way of doing so is by creating themed care packages centered around a memory or even a holiday. Regularly sending thought out care packages can make your loved one feel cared for, thought of, and involved. 

Regular Video Calls

We are fortunate to live in a period in which technology makes it easy to stay connected. Set up a weekly time to video call with your loved one. Video calls are ideal since they allow both of you to see each other. They can make the distance more bearable and will enable you to show them things going on at home. It also allows you to get your family together to video chat together.

Play a Game Together

Smartphones have changed how we play games. With thousands of multi-player games available, you can now bond over even more. Pick out a smartphone game that both of you will enjoy. Games can further enhance how you bond together and give you more to talk about. If your loved one doesn’t have a smartphone, computer games are an alternative. 

Get Them a Pet

Pets are a great way to ease loneliness. If possible, get your loved one a pet to keep them company. If they are able, take your loved one to the store to pick out their pet. Not only will this create a great memory, but it will add even more meaning to the pet. Having a pet will keep them busy and offer a form of companionship.

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

Collaborate with Their Caregiver

Caregivers offer a unique insight into your loved one’s progress. They regularly interact with them, which makes them a good source of ideas and inspiration. Develop a relationship with your loved one’s caregiver to keep track of their progress, any possible issues, and possible ways to make them happy and content. 

Send Good Morning and Goodnight Texts

This simple tip can make a world of difference. Daily communication can be a struggle considering how crazy life can get. Simple good morning and good night texts can let your loved one know you’re thinking about them. It can also serve as a way to share with them what you’re up to and open the door up for conversation. 

Plan Out Future Trips

Planning out a future trip with your loved one can help take their mind off any current troubles they may be having. It can serve as a way to get through tough times and give them something to look forward to. And because trips often require planning, it provides your loved one something to do to make time pass. A great bonus is planning out trips that may be on their bucket list. Bucket list trips add even more connection and excitement. 

Make Every Conversation Meaningful

Day-to-day conversations can lose their effect because they lack substance. Be sure to make every conversation meaningful by talking about their progress, your progress, reminiscing, showing compassion, and making sure they know they’re loved. It’s essential to do so, so they don’t feel that staying connected is a chore for you.

These eight tips can help both you and your loved one get through these tough times and even strengthen your relationship. It can be overwhelming to get started, but writing down ideas and a list of your loved one’s hobbies and interests can be a great way to get started. 

About the Author

Brandon Landgraf is a digital marketing manager and content creator for Carex Health Brands, a health and wellness brand whose mission is to improve the lives of others. He enjoys writing content that empowers others to live better, be healthier, and lead happy lifestyles.