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My mother-in-law is 75 years old and will only drink Diet Coke. No water, no tea, no juice, no milk. She will tell you, almost bragging, that she hasn't had milk in 50 years. She suffers from stenosis of the spine, has weak pelvic/hip muscles and can't stand upright. She is also incontenent. The medication she takes requires she drink plenty of water when she takes them, and throughout the day. Her urine is so concentrated, the smell is overwhelming. I have offered to make her hot tea, bring her glass of sweet tea, orange or apple juice, etc. She ONLY wants Diet Coke. Would it be terrible of me to just quit buying it? She refuses to discuss it!

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Oh, and I mean, 6 or 7 times AFTER the point at which it starts "buzzing." Until the machine is "buzzing" when you push the button, button pushes don't count at all, of course. That usually takes me about 4 presses.
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Blannie, I don't know what was wrong with your system, but I've never had any problem carbonating with SodaStream to "as carbonated" or even "more carbonated" that canned sodas. Of course, maybe this is because I don't just push the button 3 times as the instructions indicate, but 6 or 7 times.
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I use to be big on diet sodas but gave them up 20 some years ago after hearing about the aspartame, and never looked back.

There are different flavors within the non-diet Coke and Pepsi family, such as Cherry Coke and Cherry Pepsi. Maybe give those flavors a try.
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I gave up Diet sodas for over a year. Didn't even miss them, then suddenly, I went crazy over them. So bizarre. I'm trying to just get them out of my system. I'll certainly grow tired of them soon, right? I do get decaf.
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Yeah, no. I'm a dedicated 65-year old Diet Pepsi drinker. I got a Soda Stream with high hopes of getting rid of my love of Diet Pepsi. Didn't happen.

The carbonation that you can get with a Soda Stream isn't anywhere near that of canned carbonated beverages. I'm donating mine to my local charity resale shop. The quest continues.
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Here's a way you might be able to offer better hydration through an alternative soda -- one WITHOUT the phosphoric and carbonic acids that leach calcium and strip enamel.

Get a SodaStream (or similar) carbonation machine and carbonate your own water at home. These modern carbonation systems are lightweight, simple to operate, and take up very little counter space. You don't need to buy the expensive "soda flavors" that the carbonation machine companies sell (though you can try them if you like; maybe your MIL will find she likes the diet cola version).

Then just keep a bottle of carbonated water in the fridge at all times. When you serve a glass to MIL (over ice, if that's the way she likes soda), add a sweetener/flavorer of some kind to the glass of home-made "soda water." (You can find these liquid "water flavorers" in the aisle of the grocery store where they sell Kool-aid and powdered lemonade and such. They're meant to be added to bottled water. It takes just a few squirts to turn plain carbonated water into, for example, a diet orange soda.) I was a Diet Coke/Diet Dr. Pepper addict for many years, but converted myself years ago now to a carbonated water + either a low-cal liquid flavor (usually pomegranate or orange) or a jalapeno/vinegar mixture I devised for when I'm in the mood for something more tart.

When you're out and about, just carry one of the small "flavorer" containers with you (they're designed to be slipped into a bag or purse) ... you can order plain "soda water from the bar" of most any restaurant, or bottled sparkling water in a pinch, and add your flavoring on the go.

Anyway, I was thinking that if MIL really dislikes plain water (I can SO relate, if she does), and you'd like her to at least try taking her pills with something more likely to provide actual hydration, this might be a great alternative to plain water or Diet Coke to suggest to her for pill taking, WITHOUT pushing to take away her DC altogether ... she may discover she likes this alternative "soda," and if so, you may find you're able to offer it successfully during other times of day too.

(Personally, I'd be very leery of diluting Diet Coke with plain water. Any dedicated soda drinker is unlikely not to notice or object to a "flat" soda, which is what you get when you water down the fizzy stuff with the flat stuff.)
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I drink a lot of diet pepsi. You are fighting a battle that you aren't going to win. I gave up alcohol 35 years ago. I am not giving up diet pepsi. :) (I do drink other stuff like water and coffee.) Wouldn't her soda be mostly water? Good luck.
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I love my diet pepsi, but if you offered me a Mimosa (half orange juice and half champagne) I would drink it. LOL. but no one is offering just now. I hope they have mimosas when I get to the NH.
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Mix 1/2 coke 1/2 water...If she notices the difference tell her they changed the formula. After a week, dilute it a little more, then a little more. Have the Dr tell her under no circumstances is she to take her pills with anything but an 8 oz glass of water. Have the Dr do this, most older people view the Dr as the ultimate authority figure. My mother has Alz, no sense of smell because of that, a reduced sense of taste. Still likes sweet. Keep it sweet and not too light a color. Good luck!
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Something simple to do to prevent dehydration is to buy the caffeine-free diet coke. It is still carbonated and still has sweeteners, but it help her keep the water in the drink.

Something I do with my mother, who only wanted tea, was to start buying bottled water. Tea and coffee are diuretics, so I didn't want her to drink tea in place of water. She likes the bottled water. Sometimes if we run out I just fill the bottles with tap water. She doesn't know the difference. It's bottled, so it's special.
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Drinking a six-pack of carbonated soft drink a day will make your liver look like any severe alcoholic's liver. The phosphoric acid leaches the calcium out of your bones. At least get her to take a calcium pill with each cola. Obviously her kidneys are failing as well, and that will poison her brain. Talk to the MD about what she can have and not have. He may want to start dialysis.
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Oh and that soda stuff.... It takes off rust, clears drains, eats up metal given time... Very caustic poison to the system, I know what you're saying. The Main problem with the elderly is dehydration - which brings More confusion, UTIs, so many things that can be avoided or be less serious...
Bobbi here (one of the headlines on the home page and on the email I got) says her father was rushed to hospital in FL (she was in NJ) and it seemed a collapsed lung, pneumonia.... Then pulmonologist looked at Xrays and canceled emergency surgery, put him on IV fluids... Take hydration very seriously, folks. It takes effort but every hour and a half be sure they drink even a Half a Glass of water. I tried Coconut Water, and that's what I'd say you should mix some of into the diet coke... It's naturally got electrolytes, and you need to be consistent, but also they will be more Regular if there's enough Moisture in them to be able to Move the waste through their system. Fiber helps too, but water expands that fiber and makes it move through, ridding the body of toxins in the process...
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I would try putting something in the diet coke, and also getting her to drink at least meds with large glass of water. If the doctor Directly Tells them they should do something, they often will - I mean, who are you, right?
Also I find articles that point to the dangers of soda via osteoporosis and what dehydration does... I found some things and I post some of these in my small ALF home in FL, Angel House....
Look up confessionsofafatwoman
I had them do an activity one day, finding pictures of water in magazines and cut them out to make posters. Sounds silly but try looking at pictures of waterfalls, beautiful clear, cool water, and not being thirsty for some! Even if it's a lake or river, maybe a glass of lemonade or water, people drinking water... looking all refreshed by it. There is power in these images. I hope this helps.
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You're right that the coke and any other soda pop will starve the bones of calcium making the bones more fragile and the caffeine will dehydrate her but if she is determined to drink only the coke I don't see how you can change it. Even if she was a victim of dementia it's hard if not impossible to make someone drink if they don't want to. I don't know if anyone else has any ideas. I'm sure if they do it should come out on this forum.
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What I am concerned about mostly is the efficacy of her meds when she is constantly dehydrated. I wouldnt be so concerned if she drank a glass of water with each of her medications throughout the day, and drank Diet Coke the resst of the day. Part of her stenosis issue is she didnt before and still doesnt have the calcium reserve in her body to try and stave off the deliterious effects to her spine, nor to her other bones and muscles. I dont want to be the bad guy here, but she doesnt put alot of effort into caring for herself, which is how she came to be living with us.
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Karoisme, is it the carbonation in the Diet Coke you object to? I'm also a carbonated beverage drinker, but sometimes I find it's just too much. If you were to let it sit for awhile so that some of the carbonation dispels and then add ice, she might accept it that way. Plus you'd be adding some water.

If the artificial sweetener is the problem, I'd surmise that at this point it's not going to cause much difference in her life span. Some people just dislike milk. I don't think I've had a glassful since I was about ten, which would make it 53 years without for me. You might encourage cheese, or even ice cream if you're worried about calcium.

My 87 year-old mother likes Strawberry Crush and the nurses always advise her to give it up and drink water instead. She really only drinks about half a glass of Crush a day, so we both politely ignore them. :)
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I agree. It isn't healthy but at this point her comfort is the issue. My mom doesn't eat well most meals but dessert is almost always welcome. I don't sweat it. I offer the healthy foods and drinks and if she says no I give her what she wants. She isn't a child, she's an adult that has a right to decide for herself. Let the doctor know and let it go. It's a hard concept to embrace but it will relieve the stress you hold on your shoulders. Take care of yourself, caregiving is stressful, let go of the small stuff.
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What is so awful about diet Coke? Well, OK, I know lots of things awful about it and I don't drink it myself, but in this context as long as she drinks enough of it is it meeting her need for lots of fluid with the medications?

Let's say you could get her to drink some milk. What would change? Would that cure her stenosis of the spine? Would she no longer be incontinent? How about if she had hot tea for breakfast each day? She'd probably pee a little more often in the morning. What else would change? If she had apple juice in the afternoon, would her hip muscles be stronger?

I agree that what you are suggesting -- more nutritous ways of increasing her fluid intake -- would be an improvement. But is the degree of improvement worth the cost of resistence and animosity it would engender?

If you stopped buying the Coke, what would that do to your relationship? What measurable improvements could you expect in her health?

Poor MIL has enough things she cannot control in her life. She can't stand up straight. She can't control her bowels and bladder. She can't get to the store and buy the products she prefers. I'd go very gently and cautiously on the you-can't-have-what-you-want-to-drink campaign. If you feel it is worth the effort, perhaps you could focus on one small change, such as taking her pills with a large glass of water instead of with Coke.

We caregivers have to pick our battles. I don't think Diet Coke is something I'd gird up my loins for, but you need to decide what makes sense in your situation.

Good luck!
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