The Importance Keeping Hydrated

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It is really important to keep fully hydrated, especially during the summer months. This can be a challenge for most of us but for some older adults and those with Dementia it can be harder to effectively manage. 

Why keep hydrated? 

The body is around 60% water which is needed to enable the brain and body to function effectively. Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water. Being properly hydrated is also needed for some medications to work effectively. 

What can happen when dehydrated? 

Being dehydrated can have serious health implications in older adults and those with Dementia. It can increase UTI’s (Urinary Tract Infections), impair our thinking, change our mood, cause dizziness and can increase the instances of falls. Sometimes dehydration can lead to hospitalisation and decrease the effective function of organs in the body such as the kidneys. 

Signs of dehydration. 

  • Added confusion and delirium 
  • Dry lips 
  • Headache 
  • Dizziness 
  • Dark coloured, strong smelling urine 
  • Weakness 

Here are some tips to increase fluid intake, particularly helpful for those with memory loss 

  • Always have a drink within reach at mealtimes and throughout the day 
  • Add water rich foods to meals and snacks, such as courgettes, cucumber, melon 
  • Tea, coffee, squashes and fruit juices can also aid hydration 
  • Some people prefer hot drinks to cold or the other way around, experiment with beverages at different temperatures, why not try an iced tea or coffee 
  • Try smoothies, sports drinks, milkshakes and flavoured water, or even adding fruit to flavour plain water 
  • Use visual aids as reminders to add fluid intake into their daily routine – pictures of a glass of water/cup of tea with a specific time next to it.