Prevent dehydration in older adults with Alzheimer’s

April 16, 2018 developer Comments
alzheimer's care

The benefits of drinking water

Drinking water is essential for good health. Staying hydrated means that your bodily fluids will help with digestion, regulate body temperature, and transport nutrients. An added benefit for those who are watching their weight is that drinking water may often be enough to stave off hunger.

As the caregiver of a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you don’t just rely on taking a drink when you first feel thirsty. It is vital to prevent dehydration in Alzheimer’s care and to check with your Alzheimer’s loved one for the signs below.

Signs and Symptoms of dehydration

–       Problems concentrating. The brain needs sufficient hydration to function at its optimal level.

–       Dry mouth or bad breath. Since saliva has antibacterial properties, it keeps the level of bacteria in your mouth balanced and fights bad breath.

–       Heart racing. When you don’t drink enough water, your electrolytes can lower blood pressure, which puts extra strain on your heart.

–       Dry Skin. Water helps your skin look healthy. When you don’t have sufficient water, your skin loses its elasticity and becomes dry and scaly.

–       Dark yellow urine – when you are well hydrated, your urine should be slightly yellow.

–       Feeling constipated – your body may be trying to absorb fluid from the food you’ve eaten which will result in constipation. Drink water to keep the stool soft.

How much water do we need to drink?

Each person’s water requirements vary, according to size, activity level and temperature. A good rule of thumb is to multiply your body weight by .67. For example, someone who weighs 150 pounds should drink about 100 ounces of water a day. Drink an additional six ounces per day for every 15 minutes of activity or if it is very hot outside.

Tips to increase water and fluid intake for Alzheimer’s patients

  • Remind them to drink a bottle of water as soon as they wake up, and one when they go to sleep.
  • Encourage them to carry a bottle of water with them everywhere they go.
  • Make sure they have a glass of water before each meal.
  • Add fruits to their diet – and to their water. Some fruits, like watermelon or citrus, have a very high water content. Another idea is to add citrus, strawberries, mint leaves or cucumber to their drinking water.

Our brains are 80% water and we lose a lot of it through perspiration and other bodily fluids. Replacing this fluid loss with sufficient water will result in a beautiful and healthy body.

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