With summer’s soaring temperatures, dehydration is always a concern. However, when an individual has dementia, the risk becomes much greater as they may forget to take a drink. Even if they feel parched, an individual with advanced dementia may not be able to process that sensation and know that a drink of water could help.
This is further exacerbated by certain medications that may have a diuretic effect or create an inability to swallow.
It’s important for caregivers to stay alert to for signs of dehydration including:
- An increase in confusion or delirium
- Skin may appear to be drier or more papery
- Lips are dry and cracked
- Urine is darker and may have a stronger smell
- Urinary tract infections
- Sunken eyes
- Lower blood pressure
- Complaints of a headache
Caregivers can help prevent dehydration by making it as easy as possible for your loved one with dementia to take a drink. Leave out cups or pitchers of water where your loved one can easily reach them.
Make it more fun by giving your loved one a special glass to use. You can make that glass together as a special activity for your loved one with dementia by following the instructions for a painted water glass below. Crafts can be a fun way to engage a loved one with dementia, and this one has the added benefit of reminding them to get the hydration they need.
Painted Water Glass
What You’ll Need:
- Water glass
- Glass paint (available at craft stores)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Prepare the glass for painting by making sure it has been cleaned well. After washing, wipe the glass with rubbing alcohol and then let it dry for 15 mins.
- Dip a sponge in glass and use it to apply spots of color to the glass.
- Let dry for one hour.
- To seal the paint, place the glass in a cold oven and then set the temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes. This will allow the glass to heat slowly.
- After 30 minutes, turn the oven off. Let the glass cool completely in the oven before removing.
See more activities for dementia patients.
- If your loved one with dementia would prefer to use paint brushes, you can use them to create their own design.
- Be sure to use a sturdy glass that won't break easily. We chose a mason jar with a handle to make it easier to hold.
- While doing activities with a loved one with dementia, engage them in conversation. Play music your loved one enjoys softly in the background to create a positive mood.
- Activities for people with dementia have the best chance of success in the morning between breakfast and lunch when your loved one is well rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again another time.
Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care is also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to support patients with dementia and their families. Please call us at 1-888-564-3405 to learn more about how our unique care programs help provide a higher quality of life for dementia patients while helping caregivers avoid burnout.
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