As carers, remembering the simple things, like having two litres of water a day may feel like a long-winded task. Getting the person we care for to do this can be harder.
Here are some great carers’ tips and tricks on how to best keep our loved ones cool and hydrated during warmer weather.
Creative carer tips on how to keep the person we care
Pinpointing exactly when summer is in the UK, has become an impossible game of guestimation. But when the days or weeks do start heating up, it’s important that our health (and those we care for) is at the forefront of our minds.
Here are some super creative tips and tricks carers in our community have shared with us to keep our loved ones cool and hydrated.
1. The good old fan
This comes as no surprise! As the saying goes, ‘UK heat is nowhere close to holiday heat’, (as much as we wish it was), so we have to work extra hard to get our temperatures down.
One carer suggested having more than one fan in the room. This is especially helpful if we need to overcompensate for additional heat from equipment such as an oxygen machine.
It’s also helpful if the person we care for has limited mobility, or is unable to communicate to us that they are hot.
We can also get ourselves portable air conditioners. Especially if the person we care for does not like to stay in one room, we can simply take this around with us. Ranging from small ones to big ones, they are great for blasting that cold air that we desperately need to search for in hot weather.
2. The ‘unusual’ uses of ice!
For the super hot days, these creative ideas include sliding an ice pack into our pillow case and holding it between our knees and wrists. Also known as 'chillows', it is a super cost-effective and sustainable way to gently keep the person we care for cool.
We can also find chillows on Amazon which are stored in the freezer or fridge, and then go straight into our pillow cases. Or, we can simply DIY with what we have at home!
Another carer also suggested cool touch ice towels for instant cooling. We simply soak it, and wring it out to get a fast-cooling towel. It also helps to wrap it around the person we care for’s pressure points, and repeat this every time the water from the towel has evaporated.
Thirdly, a tip for if we get any of those incredibly hot days. Simply cooling our loved one’s pyjamas. We can do this by placing the pyjamas (or bed sheets - we have a theme here) into a plastic bag and putting the bag in the fridge just before they are about to go to bed. Then we have super cool pyjamas - no pun intended!
3. Our favourite ice-creams
Cooling ourselves and the person we care for down, wouldn’t really be cooling down if we didn’t add ice-cream to the mix! Whether it be a Snickers ice-cream, a Solero or Ben and Jerrys, this is by far the most satisfying method.
And if the person we care for can’t have too much sugar, an alternative is freezing some sugar free yogurt and this will taste just as good.
4. A bowl of cold water for our feet
Sometimes the simple tricks are the most effective. A carer in our community recommended getting a bowl of cold water (as cold the person we care for can handle) and dipping their feet in. We don’t have to just use bowls - we can use the bathtub, or dog paddling pools work too.
If you have any more creative tips and tricks for helping the person you care for stay cool, do share them with us.
Tips for keeping the person we care for hydrated
We know that being dehydrated during the day can bring about headaches and being light-headed. So apart from drinking two litres of water a day, what other creative ways can we keep the person we care for hydrated?
1. Add extra nutrients to our water
We can always slip in extra flavour in the person we care for’s water, such as lemon or cucumbers. Packed with antioxidants, we can be at ease knowing that the person we care for is both hydrated and getting all the good stuff.
To make it easier, there are fruit infuser water bottles that we can buy and prepare in advance. And the best part is that they look aesthetically pleasing.
2. Have plenty of cool drinks stored
Carers in our community recommend having plenty of drinks stored. Anticipate the weather forecasts and make sure we have enough space in our fridge to store cool drinks ahead of the time. This helps us to save time in the day, allowing us to quickly grab a bottle on the go for the person we care for.
3. Download the best hydration apps
50 years ago, the thought of an app telling us when and how much to drink water would’ve been absurd. But in today’s age, we do often forget the simplest things. And quite possibly, we spend more time on our devices than drinking water. So why not make the best of both worlds?
Here are some fun hydration apps to check out:
Aqualert for iPhones and Androids - Aqualerts reminds us throughout the day to stay hydrated based on our activity levels. Keeping ourselves on track is also a reminder to keep the person we care for on track, so set reminders for the both of you.
My Water – Daily Water Tracker for iPhones and Androids - with a fun interface design, drinking water can turn from a being a task to something to look forward to. With this app, we can also track the water consumption of the person we care for.
4. Get creative with smoothies
Staying hydrated doesn't mean only drinking water. We can also ensure that the person we care for is also staying hydrated by consuming more water-rich fruits and vegetables. These include melons, (especially watermelons, if in season, strawberries and oranges. Or blending these together.
The BBC GoodFood has 38 smoothie recipes we can choose from, depending on what we have in our kitchen. Why not get creative with making healthy goodness for the
person we care for? We can also freeze them to make healthy ice pops.
What are some of your favourite smoothie recipes? Share them with us in our Facebook community group.
5. Be aware of the signs of dehydration
Finally, this may not be a fun way to keep hydrated as the methods mentioned above. But it is just as important to know, for the person we care for. Pay attention to how much the person we care for is drinking. Particularly, if we are caring for children or for our older parents.
Some signs of dehydration to look out for:
They have darker urine than usual
They have a dry mouth/skin
We hope you have some new ways you can now help the person you care for cool and hydrated, no matter what time of the year it is. Ensuring that the person we care for is meeting even the simplest needs can really help to improve our and their quality of day.
And feel free to join our Facebook group to connect with other unpaid carers, to share anything that has worked for you! We also have virtual cuppas which run from Monday to Friday. Join us for laughs, a fun chat and real deep conversations!