With temperatures set to remain high, a care home in Banbury is offering advice to local people encouraging them to stay hydrated and healthy in the summer heat.
Care UK’s Highmarket House, on North Bar Place, is asking people to remember that not everyone enjoys the higher temperatures. In fact, for some older people the heat can be dangerous, triggering breathing problems, heat exhaustion and dehydration.
Julia Joy, home manager at Highmarket Place, said: “Our bodies regularly react to changing temperatures, however for older people – particularly for those living with dementia – the body’s ability to adapt is affected.
“It is therefore vital to help loved ones and those in the local community to get plenty of fluids – especially during a prolonged hot spell such as this.”
The care home has published ten tips on how older people can stay hydrated and healthy in warmer weather.
Make an occasion of a drink – Share a tea break or invite a neighbour round for afternoon drinks to make fluid consumption part of a social activity.
Timing is everything – Save any strenuous activities like going shopping, cutting the lawn or vacuuming the carpets for the cooler parts of the day.
Be inventive – Even if you don’t feel thirsty, it’s important to keep drinking. Try jellies or homemade ice lollies as alternative ways to incorporate fluids into your day.
Use a clear glass – Being able to see what’s inside the glass can help boost fluid consumption. Using a straw will also help to increase fluid intake
Eat foods that are high in fluid – Some fruits contain up to 90 per cent water and are packed with vitamins and nutrients that are great for keeping you and your loved one fit and healthy. Ice cream, vegetables, gravy and jelly are also all great hydrating foods
Make drinks look as appealing as possible – If you are sure there is no risk of choking, add a slice of lemon to a jug of water, serve cordials in vintage jugs or create mocktails with all the trimmings. Create interest with different smells, colours and flavours
Make it accessible – Buy an insulated sports drink bottle and fill it with ice cold water – handy if you are out and about or to keep by the bed if you wake up during the night.
Take note of preferences of older people you support – If they have a favourite cup or glass, remember to use that one as often as you can
Try to keep track of the amount of fluid your friend or relative is drinking – Use a jug that has a measure down the side, or a bottle with a measure to monitor the levels of fluid consumed
Try a Horlicks or hot chocolate – Even in hot weather – these drinks are not only great for hydration, but they also contain nutrients so will give older people an energy boost too.
Julia added: “It is important to look out for signs of dehydration in older people, including muscle cramps in the arms, legs or stomach, mild confusion, weakness or sleep problems. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should rest in a cool place out of the sun and drink plenty of fluids, but it is important to contact a GP or the NHS 111 helpline for advice if symptoms persist or worsen.
“As the hot weather continues, don’t forget to pop round and see older neighbours and friends to make sure that they are OK.”
To find out more about healthy eating in older age, download Care UK’s free guide, Eating as we age.