Why it is important to keep dementia patients hydrated

Most people diagnosed with dementia are 65 years or older and are vulnerable to other health-related problems.

Dehydration can cause serious damage to dementia patients’ health as it can lead to disorientation, impaired mobility, a higher risk of falling, and declining overall health.

Read about summer activities for the elderly.

Why dementia patients often experience dehydration

Because dementia can affect a patient’s memory and behaviour, putting a glass of water in front of them doesn’t guarantee they will drink it. There are many reasons why dementia patients suffer from dehydration including:

  • Forget to drink due to memory loss
  • Unable to communicate or recognize that they are thirsty
  • Low mood and loss of appetite 
  • Cannot recognize the drinks
  • Mobility limits or difficulty drinking by themselves
  • Difficulty in swallowing

Signs of dehydration

Because dehydration can lead to severe health problems, carers and family members should observe and seek for these symptoms to keep dementia patients hydrated on time.

  • Constant thirst
  • Dark yellow and smelly urine
  • Reduced peeing frequency
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Regular fatigue
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy

How to keep dementia patients hydrated

Dehydration in dementia patients often happens because of their inability to keep track and consume enough fluids daily. It is why cooperation from carers and family members is essential to keep dementia patients hydrated.

Keep track and encourage them to drink more often

It is easier to divide the daily amount of water needed evenly throughout the day instead of forcing dementia patients to consume a large amount of water at once. 

The recommended amount is one and a half to two litres per day, which is equivalent to around ten glasses or 12 cups of fluid daily. Take all the chances to encourage dementia patients to drink, for instance, while eating or during the afternoon break.

Increase diversity

Water is not the only liquid to keep a person hydrated. Except for alcohol, all other liquids like coffee, tea, milk, and juice can be great alternatives.

Other good sources of fluid are water-rich foods such as yoghurt, jelly, watermelon, cucumber, or soup. Maintaining diversity can also help to improve appetite and keep dementia patients hydrated during hot summer days.

Observe and understand preference

With more severe cases of dementia, the patients might require extra care and attention to help them remain hydrated. 

The temperature, smell and flavour of drinks can strongly affect dementia patients. We can start with the dementia patient’s favourite drinks in the past and observe their reaction. It is common for people with dementia to change their taste and might prefer to drink liquid with sweeter or stronger flavours.

Carers and family can based on dementia patient’s preferences to choose the most suitable drinks for them.

Finding care at home for people with dementia

If you are looking for carers to look after someone with dementia, we can help you find a professional and compassionate care assistant.

Visiting Angels West London focuses on building a real connection and relationship between carers and clients while maintaining the highest quality services.

Read more about us here.