Diarrhea Solutions

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Diarrhea can happen to anyone. But when an elderly person contracts diarrhea they are at a greater risk of dehydration than the younger age group.

Here is a list of some of the possible causes of diarrhea in an elderly person:

  • Food poisoning
  • Malabsorption
  • Viral stomach flu
  • Medication

There may also be more serious conditions that can cause diarrhea in an elderly, and only a doctor will be able to assist. If you suspect something more serious than stomach flu, go straight to the doctor or ER.

When an elderly person starts with the first signs of diarrhea, fluids need to be replaced in the body almost right away. As diarrhea doesn’t only contain water, but also electrolytes (sodium, chloride, potassium, and bicarbonate) the person shouldn’t only drink water on it’s own. There is a solution that a person can make which will replace more than the water lost by the diarrhea or ask your pharmacist for a rehydrate solution.

Here is the recipe to make your own rehydrate electrolyte solution: 1 liter cooled boiled water, 6 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Give the electrolyte solution as often as possible during the duration of the diarrhea.

Diarrhea usually lasts up to 3 days, if it should last longer than that don’t hesitate to go to a doctor.

For at least a day after the symptoms have cleared, light meals are to be eaten. Just take it slowly.

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The elderly can become dehydrated a lot quicker than younger people. In my days working with the elderly, I noticed that the elderly don’t enjoy drinking water. I have a past article on the dementia person and their difficulty in seeing water. I know that they aren’t able to see water like us and this might be the reason that they don’t drink as must water as their bodies need. You can put a glass of water down in front of the person, and it won’t all be drunk, or only a little if the water will be drunk.

If you are concerned that your parent or elderly charge might be dehydrated these are a few signs to look out for…

  1. There might be an increase in confusion. So if the person seems to be more confused than he/she is already, it might be dehydration.
  2. The person will have a dry mouth.
  3. The eyes will become sunken.
  4. Skin will not lie flat down when a little is pinched. It will stay in the ‘ pinched’ state.
  5. The pulse will become rapid.
  6. The blood pressure will drop to a low reading.
  7. As there isn’t enough water in the body, urine output will be very little or not at all.
  8. There might be temperature, but this might not always be the case as the elderly can sometimes have no change in their temperature readings, or they can have naturally very low temperatures. ( I will do an article on the elderly and body temperatures.)

When an elderly person becomes dehydrated or when you suspect that the person is dehydrated, don’t hesitate to call the doctor. Dehydration is very serious and can result in death. In some cases the dehydrated person will be admitted to hospital where fluids will be given intravenousely. But sometimes it’s a simpler solution: just increase the daily fluid intake.


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Hygiene Time

Good personal hygiene is very important. Why is it important? Well, let me explain all the benefits of good personal hygiene. Hope you enjoy reading…

The first step to good personal hygiene is – Hand-washing! It is important to wash your hands before you do a task and after you do a task. This helps to void the spread of germs and micro-organisms that are lurking around. Hand-washing is the first step to a better health. I am going to just say it, but with respect, the elderly can be like small children. They touch objects and won’t hesitate to put their fingers into their mouths. By allowing the elderly person to soak their hands in a bucket of warm water is very relaxing and therapeutic. One can put a few bubbles into the water and this can make for a great way to encourage water play.

Good hair hygiene is the best way to void dandruff and scalp diseases. And clean hair looks so lovely. Be cautious as to what shampoo one uses on the elderly’s  hair. Not all people’s hair thin as they age, though there is a large group that have that happen to them. Try to use a gentle shampoo and avoid vigorous scrubbing of the scalp. A gentle scrubbing will not be a problem.

Regular brushing of the teeth is the best way to reduce the risk of gum disease and it also lowers the risk of cavities. Most people brush their teeth in the morning before breakfast and again at night before bed. But don’t forget to brush the tongue. Plaque builds up on the tongue – especially in the elderly frail people. The elderly don’t ‘clean’ their mouths with the tongue like younger people do. I also noted that the elderly don’t swallow all the food in the mouth. They sometimes forget that they need to swallow after chewing. Encouragement to swallow might be needed in the elderly during meal times. If your elderly charge hasn’t got any teeth, use a baby toothbrush to gently clean the gums and tongue. You can also use baby toothpaste as it is gentler on the sensitive gums.

Regular body washing is also important to keep healthy. From my experience with working with the elderly, their skin is thin and a lot more sensitive than younger skin. Also their skin tends to dry out a lot faster and then it becomes hard, flaky or itchy. To try and avoid this from happening might take a little time as you will need to find the ‘right’ soap to use. I also don’t suggest a heavy thorough shower or bath every day. Rather wash ‘top and tail’ on every second day and do a full wash every other day. The arms, legs and feet don’t need such a lot of washing like the body’s core does. Private areas need to be kept clean at all times and this will lower the risk of infections developing. Bacteria can breed in the armpits if they aren’t cleaned regularly. And the process of drying with a towel encourages blood circulation in the body. There are exceptions to body hygiene limits – if your elderly charge has oily skin a more regular full washing might the best answer or if there is a skin condition then you need to follow the doctor’s orders as to the best hygiene care needed.

I need to add, that people with dementia can’t see water and this might make for a very difficult bathing session. Put a little colour into the water or bubbles. If you are showering the person, don’t just put the water over their heads, rather take it slowly and introduce the water to one part of the body and slowly wet more body until the whole body is wet and the person is comfortable with allowing you to wash them.

Nail care is sometimes forgotten. Finger nails should be kept short and clean. Under the nails bacteria will breed and this might contribute to the spread of bacteria. Also toenails should be kept short and clean. When you cut the toenails, cut straight across the nail and not round it like with the fingernails. If you don’t cut straight, ingrown toenails will form and it is painful. Also be very careful when cutting the toenails of a diabetic person. Don’t cut it too short. Take time when cutting nails. Make a spa session out of it. Soak the hands or feet in warm water with a little soap. Cut the softened nails gently and finish off with a lovely relaxing massage by using a lotion of the elderly person’s liking or a water-based cream. Be gentle as the skin is thin and can tear easily.

All of the above mentioned hygiene actions not only provide a good personal hygiene for the one person, but it allows for bonding time together. So don’t rush, take your time, talk about general topics (this also helps to avoid the embarrassment that might be present when you have to wash your father or mother).

I hope you enjoyed this article.


One in a Melon

Today I am going to do a quick discussion on Melons and some of the benefits they offer us.

Melons are a type of berry. They are a source of vitamin C and potassium. They are also a high water content fruit. And melons are low in calories.

Below I have listed some of the benefits of 3 types of melons:

  1. Watermelon: The red flesh contains carotenoid lycopene which is also found in tomatoes. Watermelons contain vitamin B6 which helps the human body to break down proteins. The potassium helps to balance cell fluids.
  2. Rockmelon: The orange flesh contains carotene that the human body converts in to vitamin A. Vitamin A is very good for the health of the eyes.
  3. Honey Dew: Like all melons, honey dew has a high water content. It also contains high potassium levels, this helps the body to maintain correct blood pressure levels. The vitamin C and copper elements help with the formation and promotion of healthy skin.



Cucumbers are part of the same group as squashes, pumpkins and different kinds of melons. The cucumber is made up of 95% water, which makes them a great fruit to eat on hot summer days. They are low in calories, fat, cholestrol and sodium and they contain soluble fibre

Cucumbers contain vitamin K, the B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C and manganese. And they contain antioxidants and other compounds which aid in reducing the risk of chronic diseases and more.

There are many benefits of cucumbers, they can be eaten with the skin, without the skin or infused and so many more ways.

Below are the benefits of cucumbers:

  • Cucumbers protect the brain. They contain fisetin, an anti-inflammatory, which assists with brain health. It also improves memory and protects nerve cells from age related decline.
  • Cucumbers lower the risk of cancer and they contain phytonutrients that have anti-cancer properties.
  • Cucumbers fight inflammation.
  • Cucumbers contain antioxidants. These lower the risk of chronic heart disease and  help fight cancer.
  • Cucumbers can freshen your breath.
  • Cucumbers assist with managing stress. They contain the B vitamins which are known to ease feelings of anxiety.
  • Cucumbers support digestive health. They are rich in fibre and water, which is the most needed basic elements to aid in a healthy gut, and they add bulk to your stools. They are also great for acid reflux. And they flush toxins out of the human body.
  • Cucumbers aid in maintaining a healthy body weight due to their low calorie content.
  • Cucumbers aid in lowering blood pressure levels. They contain potassium which is important for the correct function of the human body.





Benefits of a Foot Massage

Our feet are the part of the body with the hardest job – I believe. They carry us around from the day we start to walk until the day we die. They have to carry the whole body’s weight.

Foot massages are the best thing that a person can do for your feet.

The Benefits of foot massages:

  • Helps the body let go of stress. Earlier research has found that a five minute foot massage helped relax and reduce stress in critical care patients; while a hand or foot rub has been proven to bring emotional comfort to those grieving the death of a loved one.
  • Helps overcome insomnia and poor sleeping habits.
  • Improves circulation.
  • Regular foot massages helps lower blood pressure levels.
  • Helps manage joint pain and speeds up recoveries.
  • Alleviates headaches and migraines.
  • Anxiety feelings are decreased.
  • Regular foot massages with moisturizing oils improves hair, nail and skin health.
  •  Helps to cure leg oedema due to water retention. Please note that leg swelling may also indicate a more serious problem, so check with your Dr if you are unsure.
  • Sinusitis, nasal inflammation and congestion can be cured with foot massages.
  • Foot massages help to relieve symptoms of cancer, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.




Water Phobia

Water is invisible to Alzheimer patients. They are unable to perceive water in the way that you and I do. They don’t like to drink it nor do they like to shower or bath in water. That is the reason why it is difficult to get the person to drink water or shower and most often the bath times can be so difficult. Bathing has been considered one of top 3 problems that a caregiver of an Alzheimer’s patient faces.

I have found some ways to help with making water less scary for an Alzheimer’s patient from others who have experienced this water problem:
If you need to shower some one with Alzheimer’s try using a hand held shower. Don’t let the water spray over the person straight away, rather let it sprinkle onto their feet, then slowly move it up to the rest of the body. If you are going to wash the hair, wet the back of the head first then the rest of the head. Allow the person to wash themselves for as long as possible. 
Be positive at all times, it’s a real genuine fear for them and if you and I keep positive it’ll lessen their fear as they know they can trust us not to hurt them.

My observations:

If you are wanting the person to bath, put some bubbles into the water. The Alzheimer’s patient can now see that there is something in the bath and it’s not a shock when they feel water but can’t see it.

Information collected from: http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com