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Top tips for keeping older people hydrated
National Food and Hydration Week aims to raise the importance of getting these elements right for all of us. With the help of our friends and supporters at Unilever Food Solutions, we have produced and widely circulated Top Tips for keeping older people in care settings hydrated. Naturally, because we are NAPA, we have angled some of them towards making offering drinks and Activity in itself.
- Only offer small water jugs that are not full to the brim. Many older people find a full jug too heavy to lift and fear spilling
- Ensure the water is not warm, cold water is much nicer.
- Water glasses should also be small, easy to grip and not too heavy.
- Position drinks so that they are in sight and easily in reach.
- Reminders to drink are needed as the thirst sensation deteriorates in older age.
- Have a drink with them – social drinking is so much more acceptable.
- Make sure that the toilets are clearly marked and accessible. A fear of incontinence can lead to limiting the intake of fluids.
- Liquid comes in many forms so vary what you offer day to day to avoid boredom and stimulate interest.
- Offer a choice of still or sparkling water if possible. Just being offered a choice can lead to a worthwhile conversation.
- Make drinking fun. Add decorations to the glass or prepare mock cocktails.
- Run Taster Sessions. Offer a range of different drinks and invite comments and discussion about them.
- Jazz up cordials by mixing them or adding soft fruits.
- Tea or coffee is routinely offered but is there a choice of teas i.e. fruit tea, peppermint tea, earl grey etc. Is decaffeinated on offer as many more people drink it now?
- Have a coffee pot on the go in communal areas as the smell can stimulate thirst.
- Soda water added to cordials can make a change from still drinks.
- Offer savoury drinks like hot Marmite as an alternative sometimes. Supper time drinks need to be filling but don’t just offer milky ones. Smoothies go down well at bedtime too.
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