Keep In Mind Blog


Don’t Forget the Fluids! Dehydration & Dementia

Americans drink more soda than water!

Americans drink more soda than water!

75% of all Americans are Dehydrated!

Yikes! 

That statistic is staggering!

75% of all Americans are dehydtrated? This percentage includes young children as well as older adults with aging bodies!

As summer comes to an end and a cool chill begins to form; don’t think that your hydration needs change.

DEFINING DEHYDRATION 
60% of an adults body is water!

60% of an adult body is water!

The Mayo Clinic describes it this way: Dehydration occurs when you use or lose more fluid than you take in and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions. If you don’t replace lost fluids, you will get dehydrated. Common causes include vigorous exercise, intense diarrhea; vomiting; fever or excessive sweating. Anyone may become dehydrated, but young children, older adults and people with chronic illnesses are most at risk.   You can usually reverse mild to moderate dehydration by drinking more fluids, but severe dehydration needs immediate medical treatment. The safest approach is preventing dehydration before it begins.

WHY WE NEED IT

Water is essential for life. Not only does it account for approximately 60% of our body weight but it plays the critical role of carrying nutrients and waste products between our major organs while regulating body temperature and lubricating our joints.

The human body works to maintain optimal hydration by using hormones to control how much we urinate and giving our brains signals to tell us we are thirsty.

BODY & BRAIN

The brain is 73% water! Insufficient hydration can have an adverse effect on how our brains function. Elderly people in particular are at increased risk of dehydration. Often, the thirst sensation lessens as we age and medicines can affect water balance; which means they may become dehydrated more easily without even knowing it. In addition, it’s not uncommon for aging adults to self-restrict their water consumption for fear of having to make too many trips to the toilet.

However, persistent dehydration can lead to confusion and even hospitalization unless the condition is dealt with promptly. Common symptoms of mild to moderate dehydration include:

  • constipation
  • dark yellow or brown urine
  • headaches
  • tired/achy muscles & joints
  • sleepiness or increased fatigue
  • mental fog & increased confusion

For those caring for someone with Dementia; any one of the items listed above can have significant negative impact on those in your care. For instance; when someone with Dementia has constipation and are unable to self-identify that issue; the discomfort and tummy-twinges that can be common for constipation may cause them to refuse food and/or be resistant to care. Thus, creating caregiving challenges which can quickly spiral into larger care issues; if not addressed properly.

At Keep In Mind, Inc.  we specialize in holistic Dementia care solutions. We encourage vigilant attention to maintaining a robust hydration schedule for those with Dementia. This small tweak or addition to your care efforts has high impact on the overall wellness of those in your care.

BE CREATIVE!

Citrus is a fabulously delicious additive to plain water, use it often! Oranges, lemons and limes especially are both refreshing and filled with beneficial antioxidants like Vitamin C; protecting the body from damaging free radicals.  Adding vibrant citrus to a clear glass pitcher is visually pleasing and makes it more appealing to those who may be resistent. In addition, cutting melon(s) into shapes, is a simple and creative solution that makes it more enjoyable to eat! Watermelon flower-chunks (see photo below) are a fun way to meet their hydration needs.

Herbs have high value too! Consider this; adding a fresh sprig of Basil to a pitcher of water is both refreshing and flavorful. Lab studies show that the oils found in Basil  are effective in restricting the growth of numerous bacteria. Adding fresh Mint leaves and slices of lemon to water has the added benefit of promoting healthy digestion.  A win-win for everyone!

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Natural flavored water

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Dementia Solutions Expert & President of Keep In Mind, Inc. specializing in holistic Dementia care solutions. An engaging Keynote presenter, audiences applaud Belks passion for advocacy and common sense care solutions. She's the author of the 360 Dementia Care Operational manual for professional providers. And she's developed the workplace wellness initiative; Caregiving 411, for those who balance care & career. Recognized for implementing large-scale programs for those with Dementia; She's developed Fitness with Friends, Memory Magz & Memory Mealz.

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