Most of us are aware that we need water. We feel thirsty or our mouths get dry. But it can be difficult for someone with dementia. Someone with dementia may not recognize that they are thirsty. And dehydration can have mild to severe symptoms.
Our body needs water to function properly. Without enough, we can face all kinds of health concerns. Furthermore, drinking enough water keeps everything working, from our hearts to our eyesight.
It’s a good idea to drink water before you feel thirsty. And with dementia patients, try to encourage them to drink water frequently. Also note that dehydration can be caused by medications, excessive sweating, or illness.
If someone suffers from frequent vomiting or diarrhea, excessive sweating, fever, or simply not drinking enough floods this is a red flag. Any of these can cause someone to become dehydrated.
Therefore, when caring for someone with dementia, you need to be extra vigilant. Look for signs regularly to make sure they are not getting dehydrated. That means a quick check on a daily basis.
4 Signs You Need More Water
Any of these signs can vary from day to day. Make sure you are aware of any changes in a person to ensure they are getting enough of the right kinds of fluids.
A light pinch test on the hand can help determine if someone is dehydrated. If the skin bounces back right away, they are fine. And if the skin takes a long time to flatten down, the person needs a drink of water.
Additionally, if the skin stays in a pinch form, the person is severely dehydrated. It can be more difficult to tell for those who are older, as the skin loses elasticity. However, even for a senior, their skin shouldn’t form a tent and hold that shape.
There may also be signs of dry patches on the hands, face, or legs. And cracked or chapped hands, lips, and feet can also be caused by a lack of fluids. Use a mild lotion or petroleum jelly for lips and hands. Also, increase their fluids.
The color of your urine is a great and easy way to see if you are dehydrated. Normal urine should be a pale yellow or almost clear. But if it is a dark yellow or closer to brown, you are dehydrated.
And if the person hasn’t urinated for some time, this could be a sign of severe dehydration. Furthermore, it could be a sign the kidneys are storing water. It’s important to start the person with smaller sips of water.
Due to certain medications, the urine could be darker already. For someone with dementia, it’s best to know this and what to watch out for. Also, be aware that some medications may act as an antidiuretic.
A headache, confusion, low blood pressure, weakness, may all be caused by dehydration. It can be difficult to know if someone with dementia has a headache without them saying so.
Look for signs of confusion. And notice if they seem unbalanced. There could be dizziness, blurred vision, or even nausea. Also, check to see if they seem to have trouble focusing or concentrating.
There could also be a slight change in behavior. The person may seem moody or cranky. And if they seem to be lashing out, have muscle cramps, or other unexplained aches and pains this could be an indication of dehydration.
Fatigue is often caused by dehydration. Your blood pressure drops and the body slows the blood flow to the brain. And this can cause headaches, dizziness, and sleepiness.
If you notice that someone is nodding off more than usual, it could mean they need fluids. The body will be fighting against dehydration to supply fluids where it needs them.
A person may appear to be foggy or lightheaded. Also sleeping longer or falling asleep during the day can be a sign of dehydration. Someone may have trouble trying to do even the slightest task that requires very little concentration or effort.
Dehydration and Dementia
Certain signs may be more difficult to spot in a person with dementia. If someone is unable to communicate or already has mood swings, it can make it more difficult. It’s important to be very aware and keep track of the signs of dehydration.
If someone forgets to drink or is even unaware of its importance, it can cause a lot of health problems. In the elderly and people with dementia, dehydration is a real problem.
And this can cause behavior changes, urinary tract infections, more confusion, and constipation. Therefore, it’s best to encourage people to drink small amounts regularly and often.
Keep a schedule for when someone should take a small glass of water. Perhaps you can use herbal tea, fruit, flavored water, or clear broth. And they may be more willing to drink with a fun mug to use. Or perhaps you could join them for a drink and make it more of an event. Consider having a Mocktail party.
We Are Here To Help
At Sycamore Creek Ranch Memory Care we are here to help. We want families to make the best decision for their situation.
Furthermore, the staff at Sycamore Creek Ranch is proactive. That means we are not waiting for a problem to arise. Instead, we are actively engaged with each and every resident. And with only 16 residents we can do that! Come for a tour at Sycamore Creek Ranch! See how we can help!