Dehydration can be a common challenge for people with dementia, but there are some simple steps you can take to make sure the person you care about has plenty to drink.
6 ways to prevent dehydration
Leave out jugs of water
Make it as easy as possible for your loved one to have regular drinks of water or other fluids throughout the day by placing cups and jugs of water in areas around the house. For example, next to their favourite chair in the living room and by their bedside.
Make drinking easier
If they have limited dexterity or co-ordination, and struggle to drink from a cup, a water bottle with an easy-to-open top could be useful. You can also serve drinks in non-spill cups with sturdy bases, which will help to prevent spillage and maintain dignity. One-way straws (which let you suck fluid up without it then falling back down the straw if suction is weak) can help to maintain hydration levels.
Set up reminders or leave notes
If your loved one needs a gentle nudge to remind them to have a drink regularly, you can put up notices around the house, and even set up electronic reminders. These can be programmed into day clocks or specific electric memos which will play at certain times, or if they detect the movement of someone walking past them.
Remember, you don’t have to only provide plain tap water, and even if you do, you can make it a bit more interesting by adding slices of lemon, orange or cucumber, or adding a splash of squash or cordial. Herbal teas are a great option for boosting hydration, but even regular tea and coffee will help. Many people worry that because the caffeine in them has diuretic properties, they’re not appropriate for boosting hydration. However, the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee is relatively small, so it will still hydrate you to a certain extent.
Provide high water content food
If the person you care for doesn’t particularly like drinking drinks, you could also try offering foods that are high in fluids. Go for things like broth, apples, oranges, berries, grapes, watermelon, cucumber and cottage cheese.
Did you know?
Dehydration is a leading cause of hospital admissions and can contribute to Urinary Tract Infections (UTI’s)