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Encouraging Fluid intake!


New member
Sep 14, 2020

I'm looking for any tips or advice for a situation for someone's care I am involved with,

The person with dementia needs lots of encouraging to eat and drink, however the encouragement alone- however this is done causes irritability and breakdown between the relationship- how does everyone encourage fluid intake - any creative tips or approaches, thinking outside the box of the usual advice as this has already been considered-

Thanks :)


Registered User
May 21, 2018
Hello @Sunshinesmiles . I'm thinking perhaps having lots of attractive pictures of juicy fruits and drinks, ice creams, hot chocolate and anything else which might appeal on show, perhaps leafing through them with your lady/gentleman might be worth a go if you haven't tried it already. Best to have those things in stock just in case something takes their fancy, of course!


Registered User
Dec 20, 2009
Wembley, Middlesex

I see you have already received good advice.

Also, another angle to consider is find out about the person's background and upbringing, in respect of the types of foods they enjoyed (including those which were classed as luxurious and only had on special occassions).
Hope this helps,

Toony Oony

Registered User
Jun 21, 2016
Hi @Sunshinesmiles -
I dont think there is a 'one size fits all' solution to this problem - it is very dependent on the person and the relationship they have with the caregiver as to persuasion tactics. For example, I could persuade my Mum to 'have a taste' or 'just a little drop' of my drink when she would adamantly refuse a drink herself.
Firstly I would be on the look out for signs of toilet issues - mobility, fear of not getting there in time, embarrassment re incontinence etc. With older people, irrespective of a dementia factor, it's a case of 'if I don't drink then I don't have to get up and go' - but obviously this skewed logic causes dehydration.
Tastes do change and texture preferences do too. Mum would rarely be persuaded to drink a carton of squash or water, but could often be persuaded to have a nice cold mango smoothie, so I brought one along on each visit. If it works - capitalise on it as much as possible!
Also, think how the drink is served. A dainty small cup or wine glass is much less daunting than a mug or tumbler full.
If they clear their throat or sound a bit 'dry' - respond with 'I think we both need a little drink or we won't be able to continue chatting'
In my Mum's last few months, most of her speech and much understanding had gone, but anyone watching us would laugh as she would take a sip of a drink and then forget to drink anymore. Therefore I always had a glass of water which I would raise and say 'Cheers!' - it was an inbuilt reaction that Mum would raise her cup, say 'Cheers' and take a few mouthfuls. It was a slow process, but it did the trick!
Good luck.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Mum would oftern refuse a drink, but if I made a pot of tea, sat down with her and poured us both a cup (especially if it was in a proper cup and saucer) so that I was drinking too, she would also drink.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
Jelly is a good standby @Sunshinesmiles. Made with water only it is a good source of fluids and made with evaporated milk, tinned fruit or yoghurt it can provide some extra nourishment.

It also won`t spoil or have to be wasted so can be eaten in the smallest amounts.


Registered User
Mar 27, 2017
Definitely agree with making things social. Mum not recognising she was thirsty or hungry were early signs of her Dementia, yet in most cases apparently this happens at a later stage. I found the following helped.

1) Always have a drink with the person. When I offered a drink mum said “no I am alright unless you are having one”. Make us both a drink and sit with her and she would drink it, although prompts were needed sometimes to actually drink it. As @canary states make it a social thing. Have a chat, look at a magazine together, etc, getaway from the drink being the primary objective. It might be but hide that fact.
2) Offer a treat like cake and then present a drink with it “to help the cake down mum”.
3) Fluid comes in hidden forms. Mum quite likes melon, other fresh fruits are good that way.
4) Vary the drinks beyond tea and coffee. For example milk, squash in hot periods, plan water again in hot weather, hot chocolate, etc.

At 90yo I am not to worried about some of these not being to healthy, getting the fluid in take up is the important goal. Mum on a lot of daily medications, if she does not get enough fluids then her kidney function worsens.


Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
I used to “have a beer” with my dad to get him to drink - alcohol free of course. We’d sit in the garden in summer for beer and sandwiches, or fish and chips on a Friday, and then follow it with an after dinner coffee. I found if dad didn’t drink he got very confused.

Sometimes I’d have a “glass of red wine” (Ribena in a wine glass) which mum used to like. Both mum and dad ate and drank better if it was shared occasion. I also learned to present food and drink as a done deal - if I asked the answer was always no!

I also left glasses of squash in the lounge and the kitchen in summer although these were only ever half drunk but every little helps..


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
I wondered if these would be of any interest. I’ve no experience of them myself and don’t know anyone who has tried them though!

There’s a link to where you can get them at the end of the article -