It is vital that care providers not only ensure sufficient fluids are provided to residents in care, but that they are also consumed. Dehydration is commonplace and can have dangerous consequences, with symptoms including; tiredness, memory loss, low concentration, dizziness, confusion and dry mouth, lips or eyes.
Elderly people generally drink very little water. It is recommended that around eight drinks per day should be encouraged, including after each meal and snack, and that hot and cold drinks are always readily available. Any fluid, except alcohol, counts including; water, tea, coffee, milk, fruit juice and cordials. Although these will not have the same benefits as water.
There is generally an opportunity to offer a drink at almost every activity a care home offers and certain foods have a high fluid content and can also be fed to maintain the correct bodily fluid levels. These include ice cream, jelly, soups and juice-rich fruits. Creed can advise on and offer foods with high fluid content to help maintain bodily fluid levels.
Practical strategies to implement at mealtimes to stimulate appetite and interest include:
- Stick to familiar foods, drinks and routines
- Offer snacks
- Use pictorial menus for those who find it difficult to communicate
- Serve drinks with meals
- Ensure the eating environment is attractive and homely, with as little distraction as possible
Read more HERE about the key challenges in the Care Home sector relating to Care catering.