Hydration is important for everyone during the summer; but for seniors and those with dementia it’s especially important to make sure they’re hydrated. Often, those with dementia will forget or not realize that they have not eaten or even drank; their minds can reach the point where they don’t comprehend food pangs or thirst.
Because of the fact that those with dementia can forget or even no longer recognize signs of thirst it is important to keep different forms of hydration available. Water is the most obvious and best for of hydration; however, there are other ways you can keep your loved one well hydrated throughout the day.
- Glasses – use smaller glasses, perhaps 8 oz. tumbler sizes, to hold your water and place them around the house in the areas that your loved one is in most often. A cool glass of water sitting next to their chair, next to their bed, on the kitchen table can all inspire them to stop and drink.
- Limit Caffeine – while taking in any form of liquid can help, it’s important to limit caffeine drinks such as coffee and tea. However, if they will drink these items and don’t want other liquids you can try to pass off decaffeinated versions.
- Infuse Water – depending on your loved one, a water infused with fresh fruits may help intrigue them and get them to drink more water. One nice way to keep hydration at the forefront is to have a large drink container filled with ice, water and fresh fruit (lemons, limes, etc.).
- Drinking One Thing Only – if your loved one will only drink one thing, then try to make it available to them. It’s important to have them stay hydrated, even if it’s not water they prefer. Some other options can include flavored milks, small juice boxes, and interesting containers can all be helpful for senior hydration.
- Reminders – because those with even mild dementia can forget to eat and drink, it’s important to ask them often if they want a drink. You can also use a technique that will instill hydration in yourself during the dogs days of summer by getting you both a drink and sitting with your loved one and sipping on a refreshment.
All of these ideas are focused on the importance of hydration, all year long; but, most importantly during the excessively hot days of summer.
By the time you become thirsty you are already starting to dehydrate; this proves true for all of us. However, recognizing the signs of dehydration can help you make sure hydration happens and your loved one is safe.
Signs that you need more hydration:
- Dry and/or peeling lips
- Bad breath (created by the lack of hydration in the mouth & bacteria growing)
- Infrequent urination
- Dry Skin
These are signs of moderate hydration and mean you need to take steps to keep your senior taking in liquids. Don’t make a big deal about drinking regularly and it will become more of a non-issue.
Photo by theglobalpanorama