9 Tips to Prevent Dehydration in a Loved One with Dementia

A variety of beverages, and even fruit, can replenish fluids.

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An older gentleman enjoying a slice of watermelon.

This article is based on information provided by Home Instead Senior Care.

Dehydration can be a serious problem for people with dementia because they may neglect to drink enough liquids. The following tips may give you ideas on how to keep your loved one hydrated:

1. Rather than waiting for your loved one say when he or she is thirsty, offer liquids several times a day.

2. Don’t just hand over a glass; watch to be sure the drink is actually sipped.

3. Experiment with a variety of drinks: water, juice, milk, hot chocolate, cider. You can even try coffee, tea, and soda, as long as they are in moderation (about a cup a day), if your loved one prefers them.

4. If you’re concerned about the person making it to the bathroom in time, minimize caffeinated drinks, as they can cause frequent urination.

5. While the person is eating, give gentle reminders: “Have a sip of water…try some apple juice”.

6. Place athletic water bottles around the house or carry them with you when you’re out together.

7. Serve fruit, which contains a lot of water, especially watermelon, melon, and citrus.

8. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of dehydration: increased confusion or lethargy, complaints of headache, dry skin or mouth, feeling warm to the touch.

9. Keep in mind that diarrhea and vomiting increase the risk of dehydration. Keep a very close eye on your loved one if he or she is ill, and notify the doctor if you suspect dehydration.

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