It is officially summer, as of last weekend, and that means we all need to take special care to drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration can strike fast on hot days and it is a serious problem, especially among the elderly. Older adults are at special risk for dehydration due to medications, lower kidney function, and not feeling thirst to the same degree they did when they were younger. Residents who don’t get enough fluids may experience confusion, weakness, urinary tract infections, and other disorders. If severe enough, dehydration can even be life-threatening. So, an important aspect of providing excellent service in the dining environment, is helping residents drink plenty of fluids.
Here are 3 Things You Can Do to Help Residents Stay Hydrated this Summer:
- Offer a variety of tempting beverages and water-laden foods: Expand your beverage menu with summer specialties like herbal iced tea, cucumber-infused water, or seltzer with a twist of lemon. Serve melon slices, fresh tomato, berries, grapefruit, and other tasty foods with a high water content, including light soups.
- Servers, keep an eye on beverage glasses: When you see a water glass below half-full, refill it. If someone has finished their iced tea, offer to bring more.
- Encourage drinking throughout the day: Keep a beverage station open 24/7 and enlist the help of all staff in delivering beverages to residents’ rooms. Host “Happy Hour” with fruity mocktails and healthy snacks. Make sure every resident has a water bottle to take with them if they are headed out for a walk around the garden or other outdoor activity.
And while you’re doing all this, remember to drink plenty of water yourself! Your health depends on it, especially when you are working hard in the kitchen and dining room.
Image source: Lemonade with Straws by newleaf01 via Wikimedia Commons