Elderly adults are at a greater risk of dehydration, but dementia brings additional complications.
Dehydration is a serious risk for dementia patients. Dementia has been shown to cause seniors not to drink as much water as they need, which puts them at risk for a number of health issues. Symptoms of dehydration elderly patients experience include dark or smelly urine, an inability to urinate, dryness around the mouth, irritability or confusion, and a rapid heartbeat or breathing.
Here are some creative ways you can help your senior loved one stay hydrated.
- Trying Water in Different Ways
If your loved one doesn’t enjoy drinking plain water, keep in mind that water isn’t your only option for promoting hydration. Instead, you could try offering their favorite beverage at mealtime or throughout the day. Caregivers in the home throughout the day can encourage hydration and monitor for signs of illness caused by it. Learn more about how a caregiver could enrich the life of your loved one.
If you’re still getting pushback on drinking fluids, you could try beverages at different temperatures in small amounts at a time. It could be worth offering a straw to make drinking easier or even offering different flavors or different sizes and styles of cups to encourage frequent drinking.
- Foods That Contain Water
Foods that contain water can fight the dehydration dementia patients experience. Cucumbers (96% water), watermelon (92% water), apples (84% water), tomatoes (94% water), and grapes (92% water) are excellent healthy choices to keep them hydrated. You could cut a small plate of vegetables and fruits paired with a dip, dressing, or hummus for a healthy and hydrating snack or meal.
If raw veggies don’t appeal to your loved one, you can try adding some fresh berries to their yogurt or breakfast cereal or throwing some lettuce and tomatoes on a sandwich or wrap. Even small amounts of hydrating foods can keep seniors from becoming dehydrated.
- Hydration Candy Elderly Patients Love
Hydration candy elderly individuals love can encourage them to stay hydrated without trying. Products like Jelly Drops are designed to fight dehydration in dementia patients. They’re sweet and soft, plus they’re made of 90% water and additional electrolytes. (As of 3/4/2020, Jelly Drops are due to release in North Carolina in the next few months. We will update our readers when this great resource is available in our state.)
- In-Home Infusion Therapy
In-home infusion therapy provides much-needed hydration through an IV, which can be administered by trained healthcare professionals in the comfort of your loved one’s home.
IV hydration therapy uses an electrolyte solution that flows directly into the patient’s veins. The hydrating solution can not only stave off the dehydration dementia patients are prone to but also increase energy and help prevent urinary tract infections.
In-home infusions are a growing service because they can be done in the home, which makes them less disruptive to your loved one. Many of the families we serve choose to combine in-home infusion therapy with our other caregiving services for dementia patients. And as an added bonus, in-home infusions may be covered by Medicare to offer families a cost-effective preventative for dehydration.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, hydration should be a top priority. Watch our video to learn more about the benefits of in-home infusion therapy or contact us today for more information on keeping your loved one hydrated at home.