Why is Proper Hydration Important?
Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Water and fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent constipation. Dehydration is the most common fluid and electrolyte problem and one that can have devastating long-term effects.
Who is most at risk of getting dehydrated?
Seniors often don’t get enough fluids and risk becoming dehydrated, especially during summer when it’s hotter and people perspire more. Older people don’t sense thirst as much as they did when they were younger. And that could be a problem if they’re on a medication that may cause fluid loss, such as a diuretic.
What are the Symptoms of Dehydration..
- Increased thirst
- Dry mouth
- Tired or sleepy
- Decreased urine output
- Urine is low volume and more yellowish than normal
- Shriveled Skin
- Dizziness and Vomiting
- Muscle Weakness/Muscle Cramps
- Increased Pulse Rate
Why is Dehydration so detrimental to Proper Dementia Care?
Dehydration increases confusion, causes muscle weakness and extreme fatigue. Increasing confusion in a person with dementia may lead to a dangerous and a negative event such as falling and breaking a hip . Increased muscle weakness in a person who already has dementia makes them many times more likely to have a fall and end up in the hospital or rehab.
How to Defeat Dehydration?
In a Community caring for residents with Dementia or Alzheimer’s, who are normally confused or forgetful, extra diligence in providing proper hydration as well as monitoring for dehydration is essential. Those who have dementia, need to be reminded to drink fluids throughout the day. Fluids should also be brought directly to the person with dementia and they should be encouraged to drink. Flavored waters in pretty containers are helpful and yield a more positive outcome. A group hydration station is a fun activity that could be done daily. A variety of colors and flavors should be offered each week, to keep hydration fun. You should also remind those with dementia and their family members that fluids will decrease pain, keep them more alert, reduce constipation, and keep them out of the hospital. Dementia or not, no one wants to go to the hospital.