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April 1, 2022

The Hydration Handbook

The Hydration Handbook

J Smiles is back! Winter hibernation made discussing hydration more necessary than ever.

Hydration is important for seniors to avoid health complications. J shares the struggle of getting Zetty to consume water.  The doctor's guidelines seem straight forward but Zetty tricks J more than once along this journey. Their circus is complicated by Zetty's life-long disdain of water. Ultimately, J lands on a few solutions.

Listen as J highlights general methods to increase your LO's liquid intake and offers tips from experts.

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STUR (water enhancer):

J Smiles Intro:

We were at Zetty's is neurologist. The doctor was very satisfied with everything. So I thought. Then dude slips into "So Jay, there's just one little thing that I want you to improve." No problem, Doc. What is it? Right now, I'm feeling awesome because everything has been gold star gold star gold star. Your mom's a little dehydrated. So you need to increase her water intake. First of all doc, you haven't done a urine sample. Okay, this isn't my head: you haven't done a urine sample, a skin test, or looked at her eyeballs with a little fancy zapper light thingy. How do you know she's dehydrated? Then I say doc how do you know she's dehydrated? He looks in her tongue and he shows me how the ridges of her tongue along the side are a little bumpy. He shows me her cuticle and her nails, a few other things. I said "Doc I'm pretty sure that's hereditary. Look my nails and tongue look the same." He said "Ah sweetie, then you're dehydrated too!" Since I was knee high to a grasshopper, the only thing my mother hated more than racism, water! Now you telling me that I got to use this same liquid clear substance to help her be better, feel better, and potentially save her life! Uh-uh doc, uh-uh, uh, uh,uh no, no, please say it ain't so on sweet baby Jesus and all the angels. I cry all uncle.. Parenting Up is the caregiving adventures with comedian J Smiles. It's the intense journey of unexpectedly being fully responsible for the well being of my momma. For almost a decade. I've been chipping away at the unknown, advocating for her and pushing Alzheimer's awareness on anyone and anything with a heartbeat. Spoiler alert- This stuff is so heavy be ready the jokes. Caregiver newbies, OGs, village members trying to just prop up a caregiver, you are in the right place.

Zetty Intro:

Hi, this is Zetty. I hope you enjoy my daughter's podcast. Is that okay?

J Smiles "Episode Title":

Today's episode, The Hydration Handbook.

J Smiles:

Parenting Up family I felt like the doctor set me up. He kept telling me the entire visit that Zetty looked great, she sounded great. She was responding great to all of his inquiries, then he gonna hit me with this, but you must increase her water or else. While that might have seemed like a small task to him in my world, it was the equivalent of saying, get your mama ready for the Olympics next month. Actually, Zetty likes walking, if there's a Senior Olympics, anywhere, I might put her in that that would be easier than asking this lady to consume more water. Her dislike for water is so strong and has been that way her entire life that I grew up hating water. I didn't start consuming water with any kind of consistency until I lived in other countries and realized that that is a part of the reason why Americans have such a difficult time losing weight. Our obesity is through the roof, mainly because of how many sugary drinks we consume instead of water. When I lived in Europe, I was like, oh, yeah, they're drinking wine and coffee but after that, it's a lot of water and a lot of walking, I digress. Let me clarify the hate between my mom and water, this lady did not have an icemaker in our house when I was growing up, or ice cube trays- no, no, no. How did our beverages get cold? We placed them in the refrigerator. It was my job to put her one of her juices or one of her carbonated beverages in the freezer an hour or so before she was to arrive home so that it would have a little slushy component. She likes the little bit of chips of ice just barely in her beverage. She didn't want ice cubes, because it would what water it down. There was no bottled water and there was no water filter, who's drinking water and not my daddy either. He had beer and some alcoholic beverage. That's how I was going down in the J smiles parenting home. Zetty loved juice, that was her real preference, some fruity juice and get this she would add sugar. Grape juice, papaya, orange juice. Oh yeah, she's trying to add equal or splendor or brown sugar to the juice because it wasn't sweet enough. While she enjoyed a carbonated beverage or two her bladder wouldn't really allow it. My mom was diagnosed with IC, which stands for interstitial cystitis, the bladder disease where the lining of your bladder decides it hates you. And rather than being an even coat of your bladder the way it should, it turns into Swiss cheese so the acid of your urine touches the naked skin of your open bladder. And it feels like you just have salt on open wounds all day, every day, excruciating. So she didn't do a lot of that. And here comes the problem as a family caregiver, I know y'all can feel me with this, I try to share this with the physicians- Listen, my mom has Alzheimer's, basically, every pleasure that she has has been stripped from her. All that's left is a few beverages, and a morsel or two of food. Heaven smeavens. can I not let the lady have a little juice? Maybe a pork rib or two. They're like yeah, well J smiles you can but there are consequences. So I'm like I know I know, I'm trying to do the right thing. But man, I feel guilty when I know somewhere in her soul if she could look at me and say Jamie, you know, you know I don't want that water. You better give me some mango strawberry kiwi slushy plus, agave syrup, whipped cream. But I don't do that because I've been fighting for over a decade to have her in the healthiest, happiest, physical existence possible for whatever time she has left on planet earth. What does that mean? It means water not juice because juice is full of sugar and we talked about sugar on a lot of different episodes of Parenting Up and unfortunately, sugar is literally the worst thing you can consume for Alzheimer's. So even if it is pure orange juice or pure mango juice, it's not beneficial, it's not helpful. And it hurts my heart when I cannot give her that. But I have to do the right thing for her health because as her caregiver, that's what I prefer to do. Blink twice if you all agree with this, seniors have smaller bladders or less bladder capacity or something. I'm pretty sure this is true. I don't have scientific data behind this, but they can't hold as much fluid as a younger adult can. So I can't even really cheat I can't say ok Zetty if you go ahead and drink this 64 ounces of water, which is half a gallon throughout the day, like the neurologist wants you to, then I'll cheat and give you 24 ounces of your favorite juice. That baby will blow up like a balloon and float away. She can't consume that much liquid in a day. Perhaps your ellos can, I know for sure that Zetty can't. Now she is definitely working with a modified bladder. The IC required her to have a bladder augmentation, so her bladder is probably 60 to 70% the size of a typical adult bladder. My mama was so nice with hating water, that she didn't even make me drink water. If we were out at the restaurant, likewhen they would want to pour the water she would just put her hand over the top of my glass and her glass and say "that's okay we don't need any of that." And she would make the yuck face for me if I felt embarrassed, doubling down on the fact that water is nasty, because it doesn't have a taste, that's why it's nasty. Zetty said "if you're going to eat it or drink it, it should have a positive pleasant taste otherwise is useless." Y'all I went and found the fanciest water on the planet. I said okay, if I get the osmosis triple reduced from the sky and the clouds and reverse hydrogenated through the storm through the rain here we come water, surely that will taste like butter and cotton candy in my mom's mouth. She's gonna love this, it's $27 a sip, here you go mama drink it. Y'all know the water I'm talking about, when it's in a glass bottle, hassunshine on it and you touch the bottle and it feels like a diamond in your hands. Yeah, that kind of water. When you have to go get a loan from a bank and they check your credit, just to buy the stupid water. Yeah, that kind of water. That's what I bought for my mama, nobody else in the house could drink it. Everyone understood that water on that shelf is only for Zetty because the water bottle was so pretty. Yeah, I'm giving her the bottle this gorgeous hand painted curvy. Guess what? I walked back in the room one day thinking oh wow Zetty finished the water because it was gone off of her tray. Why was the bottle of water 75% full under the sink, Zetty put the water bottle up like it was a bottle of cleaning solution cuz to her it's gross. I pulled it out "Mama hey, sweetheart. You didn't finish your water." What JG that's not mine- no no no no no that's not mine. Zetty I had to hawk a kidney for this water girl. you better drink this water. Deflated I realized that wasn't gonna work, but what I was not about to do was waste this Artesian water. So J Smiles, what do you do? I lie a lot. The lie of love, like season one, episode 21, we had chef Angela on and she discussed a lot about the life of love. Once I committed to being my mother's caregiver from a spiritual and soulful place that became bigger than being her daughter, it's a place of agape love, a place of fidelity. It's a bigger purpose then she's my mom. I'm serving the honor of humanity. So what will it take to make sure that her time here has the least amount of stress on her soul, on her system, on her body, on her joints, and all that good stuff. Lie number one, I switched from transparent to opaque cups. Every cup is a spill proof cup that is dark blue, red, green, purple, you wouldn't have a clue of what was in it. I noticed she was much more likely to go no, what was that when the cup was clear. I say oh, I gotta stay ahead of this lady. Another helpful things not someone to lie is that I use huge jumbo straws. Now for everyone who is environmentally conscious, I reused the straws. I have a straw cleaner and everyone who visits me or lives with me knows you cannot use these straws. I have like 20 of them and they last like two years. They're plastic. The steel straws are too thin, it doesn't work with her ability to pull the liquid through her suction and jars are not that strong anymore. So we have the big jumbo slurpee like milkshake looking straws. And I use them over and over again for her. Since the goal is 64 ounces, I do for 16 ounce spill proof cups. That works out for us no matter who is the caregiver or who is helping out with Zetty, you know, if you haven't gotten through the four cups then day is not complete. And we switch between pure water and water with a flavor enhancer. But the enhancer is always something based with stevia or another plant based sweetener. Currently, I'm enjoying stur, S T U R and I'll put the link in the show notes. I usually try to give Zetty at least eight to 12 ounces of Pedialyte per day as well, because it has electrolytes and all these other vitamins that I asked Zetty's medical team about and they said for her levels of cognition and age, it was a good idea. But don't just jump into doing that, please check with your ellos doctors. Yes, sometimes on special days, Zetty might get gluten free pancakes, sugar free syrup, and then there's coconut milk. I chose coconut milk because definitely not doing dairy and coconut everything is better for Alzheimer's. Let me tell you what to stay away from even though you might say, Oh man, but it's so good and they enjoyed so much, coffee and tea. I know, I know. I know. I know. I know, I know. But coffee and tea they're both diuretics. And so that is not adding toward your 64 ounces of hydration. So maybe what I should say is if you give your ello coffee or tea, just know that's not counting toward whatever your hydration goal is. Okay, let's hear from the experts- clevelandclinic.org. "Dehydration is a common cause of hospitalization. Did ya know that? Seniors have less water in their bodies naturally than younger adults or children." That's a problem. That's a problem Pparenting Up Family. If they are already starting off deficient, we have to make sure to keep our ellos full of fluids. Here are some signs dry mouth, fatigue, dizziness, cramps, confusion. Dehydration can actually cause confusion, a rapid heart rate, difficulty walking. Aging.com says "that the muscle mass in younger adults actually stores a lot of water. So that's one major thing that seniors are having to combat as they lose muscle mass, they're naturally losing water." Then look at this guess what else they're sent sense of thirst naturally declines even before you mix in dementia. Dementia automatically makes them forget to eat, drink or even ask you for something to nourish them. Additional signs could be a headache, a seizure, kidney failure, a coma, even worse, possible death. UTIs are commonly caused by dehydration. A few other things to look out for skin dryness, now we're not talking about wrinkles. Okay Parenting Up family to start trying to go overboard with wrinkles, that's a normal part of aging. We're talking about dryness and flaking and urine color changing. That's got to take you really being observant about your ellos urine, or whoever it is that's assisting you in caring for your ello is the urine color starting to change. I have found that sometimes changing the temperature of the beverage will get Zetty to consume more of it with water she actually wants it room temperature. But with Pedialyte, she wants it cold. If I'm trying to get her to drink something that's more medicinal, maybe some something that has a lot of vitamin C in it., it's better if it's warm. I don't give her anything hot. I don't trust her to blow and I don't trust her to wait for me to blow. That's my opinion. I give it to her lukewarm. Consider throwing in foods that are naturally watery. Isn't that cool, there are some foods that will actually be on your side. cucumbers, lettuce, celery, spinach. Feel free to do a search on the internet for foods with a lot of water in it. It's not potato chips okay family don't do that. Stone fruits, like peaches. Hydration in seniors is well overlooked. Proper hydration for our ellos is super critical. I cannot underscore it enough. You cannot pay too much attention to it. The negative consequences are way too extreme. It's not hard to do, but it is time consuming. It's more about the planning and the tedious nature of consistently day in and day out. Like every 15-20 minutes, getting your ello to take a sip of whatever the beverage is. Is it water? Is it milk? Is it water with a flavor enhancer? Is it a smoothie, a green smoothie not filled with a lot of sugar. And you can ask your medical team, they may have special nutrients or protein based beverages that's better for your ello based upon other dietary needs, like does your ello have diabetes, or high cholesterol in addition to having dementia. Keep all of that in mind when you're determining what their hydration needs are. But it really is about having a schedule and a plan. Whoever it is that's caring for your ello on Tuesday or Thursday, they should have a plan. I found that if you have the plan, it can work pretty smoothly. The wheels fall off the bus when you try to get 32 ounces in your ello at dinnertime. That is a mess. They can't consume it. It runs right out of them, then it is toileting nightmare. Small sips throughout their waking hours, that's the way to go. Not only has that worked marvelously well for Zetty, that is what I have been told by countless neurological experts as well as other caregivers. We got this! We got this!


The Snuggle Up- Number one, Your elloneeds 64 ounces of liquid per day. Preferably water. You can use a flavor enhancer coffee and tea not count towards that hydration total. Number two, Signs that your ello might be dehydrated, dryness. The lips, are they cracking along the side? The tongue does it seem white and bumpy along the edges. The hands the arms, are they cracking and ashy? I mean super ashy. UTIs, are they coming back to back? The mama or daddy or uncle, sister, cousin get three UTIs in a weekend; that baby might be dehydrated. Number three, Give your ello small sips of liquid throughout the day. Don't wait til meals for the liquid. It'd be very tough to get to your 64 ounce goal. Small sips watching TV, in between taking naps on the sofa, right after brushing teeth, washing face. Hey, I will admit I give Zetty sips of liquid while she's sitting on the commode. Yep, that's what I do. But two hours before bedtime, she can't drink anything.

J Smiles Outro:

We keep the Parenting Up caregiving content coming on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. as well go to www.jsmilescomedy.com and sign up or Parenting Up newsletters. That's it for now. Thank you for listening. Please subscribe for continuous caregiving tips, tricks, trends, and truth. Pretty pretty please with sugar on top share and review it too. I'm a comedian, Alzheimer's is heavy, but we ain't got to be.