The Vital Role of Fluids in Dementia Care: Why Hydration is Key

July 10, 2024 - Reading time: 10 minutes

In dementia care, ensuring proper hydration is a crucial component often overlooked. Yet, the importance of fluids for dementia patients cannot be understated. In this blog post, we will explore why fluids are essential for individuals with dementia and how adequate hydration can positively impact their overall well-being.

Understanding the Impact of Dementia on Hydration

Dementia is a progressive condition that impairs cognitive function and memory, making it challenging for individuals to perform everyday tasks, including maintaining proper hydration. As dementia advances, patients may experience difficulties in recognizing thirst cues, remembering to drink water, or communicating their needs effectively. This can lead to dehydration, which can exacerbate symptoms of dementia and negatively impact their quality of life.

The Importance of Fluids for Dementia Patients

Brain Function: Adequate hydration is vital for optimal brain function. Dehydration can lead to cognitive impairment, confusion, and disorientation, all of which can worsen symptoms of dementia. By staying hydrated, dementia patients can maintain better cognitive function and clarity of thought.

Physical Health: Proper hydration is essential for overall physical health. Dehydration can cause a range of health issues such as urinary tract infections, constipation, and increased risk of falls. By ensuring that dementia patients are well-hydrated, caregivers can help prevent these complications and promote better overall health.

Emotional Well-being: Dehydration can also affect mood and behaviour in individuals with dementia. It can lead to increased agitation, restlessness, and irritability. By keeping dementia patients hydrated, caregivers can help improve their emotional well-being and reduce challenging behaviours.

As we explore the difficulties of caring for people with dementia, it is important to acknowledge the critical role that hydration fluids play in sustaining their health and well-being. Hydration is more than just drinking a glass of water; it is a key factor contributing to cognitive function, overall physical health, and emotional well-being. In this post, we will examine why fluids are so important for people with dementia and why staying hydrated is so important for their quality of life.

We encourage you to take a minute to read the material below and learn practical tips on how to promote hydration in dementia patients. By doing so, you will be equipped with the knowledge to provide optimal care for your patients.

Did you know that every organ in our body needs fluids to function effectively? Especially the brain is highly dependent on fluids. And without water, we can experience problems like short-term memory loss, conduction, agitation, lack of focus and responsiveness. Good hydration is very important throughout the day for people with dementia.  

So, how can we make sure our loved ones living with dementia can stay hydrated? Strategies for Promoting Hydration in Dementia Care

  • Make sure they have a glass of water handy at all time
  • Offer them fluids regularly, especially when they seem thirsty
    Flavoured water or soups to make drinks appealing 
  • Keep a close eye on their fluid intake and make sure they are not dehydrated
  • Encourage them to drink a full glass of water as soon as they wake up. This is a good kickstart to the brain and the body. 
  • Get help from a Smart speaker system or an alarm system to remind them to drink fluids. 
  • Change the regular glass to a colourful one and use a coloured straw if required.
  • Please stop using the side table, make sure the table is at the front where they mainly sit. 
  • If possible, label the bottle or glass saying “Drinking Water”.
  • Use a glass or plastic tumbler with a reusable silicon straw, make sure your loved one can lift it when full of fluids. 450ml – 600ml is highly recommended and available in supermarkets or online.

In some cases, a person with dementia refuses to drink, especially water! Making their fluid intake up with food, such as Soup, watermelon, pineapple, pears, yoghurts and custard will help to be hydrated. 

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