Senior Life

Jennifer Meagher RN is the owner of Senior Life LLC, Advocates and  Consultants. Meagher founded and oversees the Better Business Partners  Serving Seniors. She is on the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Committee and has specialized in geriatrics since 1998. She is called on by doctors, attorneys,  and financial advisors to care for their clients and their families. Contact Jennifer  at

July 25th, 2016

Dear Jennifer,

I saw your letter from last week about the father who wouldn't eat, but my mother won't drink enough fluid. I know part of the reason is because she doesn't want to get up and go to the bathroom especially during the night. She gets a lot of urinary tract infections and the doctor said she needs to drink more cranberry juice to help. She says she doesn't like the taste. And she doesn't like water. And she doesn't like orange juice. And she doesn't like soda. Do you have any ideas for me?



Dear Dot,

Maintaining adequate hydration is extremely important as we age. Dehydration affects our cognitive capability, increases the risk for urinary tract infection, increases our risk of heatstroke, and increases our risk of falling from lightheadedness.

If your mother is waiting until she feels the urge to drink, she's working against herself. She should not wait until she feels that urge, rather she should have a small drink at specific times of the day or sip on a drink throughout the day. And she doesn't seem to have the urge or inclination to drink, she will need someone there to encourage her throughout the day. If your mom lives alone, it may be time to bring help in, enroll her in a day program, have her relocate to your home or assisted living. We are in a time in our area where there are not enough home health aides to provide the service you may need in your home. However, there seems to be enough companion care, which also comes at a lower price tag. You may want to contact a companion agency to visit, change her bedding, fix her a nice meal, take her for a walk or an outing, and get her to drink. 

Good luck. Let me know what worked.




It is so very hard to watch our parents change. It is even more difficult if we feel that they are slipping away from us. We want to jump in fix-it make things better and keep our parents going. Sometimes the situation at hand is reversible. Sometimes there is nothing that we can do to effect change. And sometimes we must recognize that our parent has the right to make their own choices. All of that said, my wisdom on this, and you may have heard me say this before, is that I wish for adult children to feel reasonably comfortable with their actions and decisions well after our parents are gone. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to help care for our geriatric population. Most families need outside professional opinions about what to do. The first to start point is with the physician or physicians. Try to keep your stress level at bay is you visit with your parent to their doctor and ask about what games and wellness your parent is likely to achieve. This will help direct how aggressively you might encourage your parent to improve. Try to listen as your doctor explains whether he or she is concerned about your parent’s lifestyle. We worry about our parent’s activity level, their socialization, eating habits, hydration, and happiness. And there may be a longer look list yet. The bottom line is that there are worries and more worries. Generally, it is hardest on the family who are watching the older adult change in age and wish to do "something “to make things better. "Better" is the key word here. Better is not determined by you, it is determined by your parent. What does your parent want? Some parents want to improve, others don't want to think about all of their difficulties. Some wish to be aggressive about their treatments and others wish to decrease the medication you're taking the treatments they're receiving and wish to live a more natural lifestyle. These choices are in fact, your parent’s decision. Talk to your parents talk to the doctor and find that sweet spot where you come to terms with your parent's changes and find ways to have enjoyable visits while you are together. Acceptance is the key. What can you reasonably accomplish? What does your parent wish from you? Many times the parent, more than anything, would like to enjoy your company and have you with them. If visits are fraught with nagging, no one is having a good time. Build some new wonderful memories with your parents. You'll be glad you did.

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By John Sproul


The correction fluid "Liquid Paper" used to correct typing mistakes (when using a typewriter), was invented by a woman who was the mother of what rock musician?

A. Mick Jagger (of The Rolling Stones)

B. Michael Nesmith (of The Monkees)

C. Brian Wilson (of The Beach Boys)

D. Buddy Holly (of The Crickets)

The correct answer is B.

Bette Nesmith Graham was a secretary who was fired over a typing error. She remembered that artists painted over their mistakes on canvas, so why couldn't typists paint over their mistakes too rather than use an eraser? She started the Mistake Out company (later renamed Liquid Paper) from her home, selling her company in 1980 for $47.5 million!