Being properly hydrated can be a real challenge. As we age, we lose our sense of thirst and, for may people, our kidneys become less able to manage the essential salts and minerals found in the foods that we eat. Add dysphagia to the equasion and it indeed becomes a challenge. Some suggestions:
Thicken water or beverages with a “clear” gum-based thickener like ThickenUp Clear or Thick & Easy Clear. These thickeners don’t taste pasty or alter the appearance of beverages. They just make beverages the correct consistency. I find that my clients on thickened liquids drink about twice as much when they are using a clear thickener. “Clear” thickeners will even thicken fizzy drinks, like soda and beer.
While water is the best form of liquid for hydration, it is okay to include other beverages like juice, Gatorade and flavored waters. Also consider adding a squeeze of lemon to water. Coffee and tea can be dehydrating, but if that is what someone want to drink, it is okay. Just limit the type to decaf and don’t drink more that two cups per day. The same goes for soda/pop.
Serve properly hot or cold beverages, which ever can be tolerated, not room temperature beverages. Cold and properly hot beverages will help stimulate the swallow. Test hot liquids to make sure that they are not too hot!
Keep cold, thickened beverages available all the time. I recommend thickening beverages a quart at a time and keeping the container in the refrigerator. That way, when you need a beverage, it is cold and ready. By the way, clear thickeners will not continue to thicken, so you won’t end-up with glop.
Ritualize beverages: 10:00 am is “tea time” or 3:00 pm is “happy hour”. Make it fun and interesting.
Offer something to drink whenever you move, bathe or take someone to the bathroom.
You can also boost hydration by adding pureed soups of the proper consistency. If your someone is on honey-thick liquids, soups should be that consistency, as well. The same goes for nectar consistency.
The perfectly safe popsicle recipe (click here to download the recipe) also includes instructions for making a granita, which is nice because you can eat it with a spoon.
I hope that these suggestions help!