My mother has had several spells of low energy and listlessness. My physician tells me is due to dehydration. How can I make sure she is properly hydrated?
It is very important for your mom to stay hydrated as dehydration can cause organ failure and death if ignored. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, no urine or very concentrated urine, sunken eyes, lethargy, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, dry skin and/or constipation.
Monitor your mother’s fluid intake. Try to help her drink regularly — six to eight glasses of water or other fluids a day. Try flavored water or adding a slice of lemon.
Other fluids, such as juice and tea, can also contribute to her fluid count. While drinking water is the best source of hydration, many foods contain water and can help replenish lost fluids, such as lettuce (95 percent water), watermelon (92 percent water) and broccoli (91 percent water). Soups, ice pops and yogurt also have high water content.
Make a conscious effort to provide water/liquids to your mom on a regular basis — at least every two hours — especially on hot summer days.
You also want to avoid foods and drinks that may contribute to your mom’s tendency to dehydration. Beverages with sugar or caffeine (such as fruit juice, soda and coffee) may help to hydrate some, but they are not as effective as low-sugar or low/non-caffeine beverages.
Oftentimes, the individual with Alzheimer’s or dementia refuses to drink water. Think of other ways of increasing your mom’s fluid intake — breakfast cereals with milk, soup, ice pops and supplements.
Additionally, review your mother’s medications. For example, some heart medications act like a diuretic to prevent the weakened heart muscle from having to pump more liquids than absolutely necessary. These diuretics will cause dehydration if not managed properly.
Questions about Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia disorder? Contact Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, Director of Services at Alzheimer’s Services of the Capital Area, (225) 334-7494, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the organization at 3772 North Blvd., Baton Rouge.