If you care for a loved one with alzheimer's or dementia or if you employ an aid or care worker to help your family member function, then you likely have many concerns about health. One serious issue you should be worried about is dehydration. Individuals with dementia commonly forget to drink or they do not remember when they last drank water. This is a major issue, because older individuals lose thirst sensations over time. Medication usage can also cause the body to lose water, and this means that you need to find ways to keep your loved one hydrated.
Supply Water Containers
In general, most adults need between about two and three liters of water a day to stay healthy. You want your elderly loved one to drink at least two liters of water a day, but it way be difficult to keep track of the water that is consumed. You can better keep track of fluid consumption by purchasing a two liter container. Place this container in the refrigerator and fill it with water. Consider adding filtered water, because filtration removes some of the chlorine and other contaminants from the fluid. This will often make the water taste better so your loved one is more willing to drink it.
Once you purchase the large container, make sure to place glasses on the counter next to the refrigerator. Some individuals with dementia become confused when looking for glasses and they will then not drink the water.
Small Water Bottles
You also should think about buying a water bottle that you can fill for your loved one throughout the day. Use the water from your refrigerator to add water to the container so you can keep track of the amount of fluids consumed during the day.
When you purchase a water bottle, make sure that you invest in a stainless steel container. Almost all types of plastic bottles can release toxins into the water. This is a concern regardless if you find a BPA or BPA-free bottle. If you do purchase a stainless steel water bottle, then make sure that it features a handle. This way, your loved one can bring the container on outings outside the home.
Provide Foods that Contain Water
It is wise to make sure that your loved one with dementia drinks plenty of fresh water throughout the day. If water is not regularly consumed or if you are still concerned about dehydration for some reason, then try to provide fluid filled foods. Hot chocolate, soup, and tea are easy options to make sure that water is consumed.
Just make sure to limit coffee and other caffeine containing beverages. Beverages that contain caffeine can contribute to overall fluid intake. The caffeine may make your loved one urinate more often though. This can cause discomfort, especially if your family member has incontinence concerns. Your loved one may then decide to stop drinking fluids so they do not need to use the bathroom as often.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
You should consider offering your loved one fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the day in addition to water. Choose foods that have a high volume of water. These fruits include watermelons, strawberries, grapefruits, oranges, and cantaloupes. Lettuce, cucumbers, celery, zucchini, broccoli, and carrots are all good vegetable options. If your loved one is unable to eat crunchy foods due to dental problems or dentures, then consider steaming vegetables to retain water. Think about making smoothies to serve fruit.
If you decide to make smoothies for your loved one, add some yogurt to the fruit mixture. Yogurt contains probiotics that can keep the digestive tract healthy. This can reduce diarrhea and loose stool concerns that can contribute to dehydration and general water loss.
If you have a family member or a loved one with dementia, then you should be concerned about the amount of water that your family member is consuming. Elderly people can become dehydrated quickly and this is a major concern if they also have dementia.