We all know that the advice is to drink 8 glasses of water a day to keep our bodies healthy- but what about our brains? Our body is made up of 60% water and all our cells (including brain cells) rely on this water to function properly. When body water levels are too low, our brain cells cannot function properly, leading to cognitive problems.
A study assessing the cognitive function and hydration status of over 1,000 people aged over 65, found that dehydrated individuals were at higher risk for dementia. They also found that individuals with dementia were at higher risk of dehydration.
The elderly generation are at most risk of becoming dehydrated due to the fact they are often less likely to notice signs of dehydration as they become less sensitive to thirst. Lack of communication can also be a contributing factor to the elderly consuming less fluid than needs and common medications can often make dehydration worse.
Placing a drink in front of someone doesn’t always mean they will drink it and an empty cup doesn’t mean the person has finished the drink. It may have been spilled, drunk by someone else, or poured away.
There are some things you can do to help an elderly person drink more and decrease their risk or effects of dementia:
Have a drink on hand whenever the person is eating something and try and encourage them to have a sip in between each bite,
Use a clear glass so the person can see what’s inside or use a brightly coloured cup to draw attention instead.
Offer different types of drinks throughout the day such as tea, coffee, hot and cold milky drinks, fruit juice, smoothies squash or water.
Make sure the cup they are using is suitable, making sure it’s not too heavy or a difficult shape.
Encourage the person to eat foods that are high in liquid content such as gravy, ice lollies, yoghurts and fruit and veg such as melons, oranges, cucumbers and tomatoes.
If you’re still struggling to get someone you care for to drink enough, our smart cup can offer extra support when you’re not around. Our Hydracup are dementia friendly allowing anyone to drink from any cup at any time. You can see exactly how much they’ve had to drink and when, taking away some of the worry.