This week on Parents Are Hard To Raise… Why you should never, EVER go into a Hospital in July.  Plus… the perils of hiring the wrong caregiver, and some slightly unusual tips for preventing dehydration in the elderly.



Resources and links for episode 14

7 Tips to Help Prevent Dehydration in Your Elderly Parents

  1. Encourage your parent to drink small amounts of fluids throughout the day, rather than drinking large amounts all at once.
  2. Five 8-ounce glasses of water per day is a good bench for the elderly. Although everyone’s needs are different, studies have shown that elderly adults who drink 5 glasses of water experience lower rates of fatal coronary heart disease.
  3. Avoid coffee, alcohol and high-protein drinks, especially in large quantities, because they have a diuretic effect. This leads to a greater loss of body water, which can cause or worsen dehydration.
  4. Make it easier for your patents to drink more fluids voluntarily. Encourage them to drink water, milk or juice with every meal, and keep favorite beverages nearby.  Get creative with flavoring water.  Try adding: sliced lemons, cucumbers, mint, pineapple chunks, or frozen clementine wedges.
  5. Caregivers and your parents should recognize the early warning signs of dehydration. Warning signs include fatigue, dizziness, thirst, dark urine, headaches, dry mouth/nose, dry skin and cramping.
  6. Remember that foods high in water, like fresh fruits, vegetables and some dairy products, can help your parents meet their daily water needs. Encourage your parents to eat foods high in water:


     Strawberries. These tart berries are another fruit that are comprised of 92% water. …

     Cantaloupe. This super fruit is super hydrating! …

     Pineapple. …

     Oranges. …

     Raspberries. …

     Iceberg Lettuce. …

     Celery. …

     Green Peppers.

7. Fear of incontinence can diminish your parent’s urge to drink voluntarily.  So, encourage your parents to drink more during the day and limit drinking before bed. Additionally, drinking small amounts of water throughout the day may help with incontinence.

10 Benefits Of Physical Therapy for your Aging Parents

A customized physical therapy program can help people of all ages recover from injury or who have medical conditions, illnesses or injuries that limit their ability to move.  But in the elderly, it can mean the difference between living independently and not.

Geriatricians  often refer patients to physical therapy at the first sign of a problem, since it is considered a conservative approach to managing problems.  Here are 10 additional benefits of early intervention with physical therapy can have for your aging parents:

  1. Reduce or eliminate pain. Therapeutic exercises such as joint and soft tissue mobilization or treatments like ultrasound, taping or electrical stimulation can help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function to reduce pain.  These types of therapies can also prevent pain from returning.
  2. Avoid surgery. If physical therapy helps your parent eliminate pain or heal from an injury, surgery may not be needed. And even if surgery is required, your parent may benefit from pre-surgery physical therapy.  When your parent going into a surgery stronger and in better shape, they’ll likely recover faster.
  3. Improve mobility. If your parent is having trouble standing, walking or moving physical therapy can help. Stretching and strengthening exercises help restore your parent’s ability to move.  Physical therapists can properly fit individuals with a cane, crutches or any other assistive device, or assess for orthotic prescription. By customizing an individual care plan, whatever activity that is important to your parent’s life can be practiced and adapted to ensure they can perform that activity effectively and safely.
  4. Recover from a stroke. It’s common to lose some degree of function and movement after stroke. Physical therapy helps strengthen weakened parts of the body and improve gait and balance. Physical therapists can also improve stroke patients’ ability to transfer and move around in bed so that they can be more independent around the home, and reduce their burden of care for toileting, bathing, dressing and other activities of daily living.
  5. Recover from or prevent an injury. Physical therapists understand how  aging  can increase your parent’s risk for specific types of injuries. They can design appropriate recovery or prevention exercise programs for your parents to ensure a safe return to normal life.
  6. Improve your parent’s balance and prevent falls . When you begin physical therapy, you will get screened for fall risk. If you’re at high risk for falls, therapists will provide exercises that safely and carefully challenge your balance as a way to mimic real-life situations. Therapists also help you with exercises to improve coordination and assistive devices to help with safer walking. When the balance problem is caused by a problem in one’s vestibular system, Physical therapists can perform specific maneuvers that can quickly restore proper vestibular functioning, and reduce and eliminate symptoms of dizziness or vertigo.
  7. Manage diabetes and vascular conditions. As part of an overall diabetes management plan, exercise can help effectively control blood sugar.  Additionally, people with diabetes may have problems with sensation in their feet and legs. Physical therapists can help provide and educate these patients on proper foot care to prevent further problems down the road.
  8. Manage age-related issues . As your parents age, they may develop arthritis or osteoporosis or need a joint replacement. Physical therapists are experts in helping patients recover from joint replacement, and manage arthritic or osteoporotic conditions conservatively.
  9. Manage heart and lung disease. While patients may complete cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack or procedure, they also may receive physical therapy if their daily functioning is affected. If your parent has pulmonary problems, physical therapy can improve their quality of life through strengthening, conditioning and breathing exercises, and help them clear fluid in the lungs.
  10. Manage Women’s Health and other conditions. Women have specific health concerns. Physical therapists can offer specialized management of issues related to your mom’s health.  Additionally, PT can provide specialized treatment for:  Bowel incontinence, breast cancer, constipation, fibromyalgia, lymphedema, male pelvic health, pelvic pain, and urinary incontinence.

You should look find a Physical Therapist that you like and trust BEFORE your parents need them.  You and your parents should interview a few local therapists and decide who will use in the even your parents need them.