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how to avoid dehydration?


Registered User
May 30, 2006
hi everyone,

I wondered if anyone had any advice on how to get people with dementia to drink enough liquid during the day?

I've just come back from looking after my mum for a bit of the weekend to give my dad a break, and really noticed how little she's drinking. This can't be good for her kidneys, system in general, even how she feels if she's dehydrated. Her day centres have noticed this pattern too.

We've started to flavour water - e.g. with a bit of ribena - to make her drink brightly coloured and eye-catching, as well as taste sweet. Occasionally this works a treat, but more often than not it has little effect. Reminding her of the importance of drinking, or putting it into the words of a carer or doctor has little effect either since she gets very defensive. My brother has also tried offering her a drink with a straw, in case it's partly about the coordination of raising the glass to her mouth, as well as to offer some novelty value - again, this has only worked on occasion.

I imagine that all this is because she no longer 'feels' thirsty.

I'd be really grateful for any tips.



Registered User
Mar 18, 2007
encouraging to drink

You are not alone. Today I felt a surge of relief when dad drank half a glass of orange juice after a walk without too much encouragement.

My dad forgets to drink now. We find it pointless giving him a hot drink as he usually spills it before drinking it. However I have found he will drink a cold drink if he sees me drinking. So it is a bit do like I do. Drinking from a straw really helped one week when we think he had a flu bug and we wanted to get as much fluid into him as possible. He now likes those vitality yoghurt drinks so mum sometimes gives him one of those after a meal. But you have to stay with him and encourage him by holding the bottle. He still likes soup which again we feel is another way of getting him to drink fluids.

Try little and often because it can get so frustrating.


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
This is quite common. The way I used to encourage my Jan to drink was to say "Wow, I'm really thirsty! I'll get us both a drink, shall I?"

That seemed to work, but at that stage Jan could handle the glass and drink perfectly well. It just did not occur to her to drink without prompting.

Perhaps she was becoming uncertain about whether she would be allowed to get a drink in what was becoming to her a strange house, or perhaps her confidence was gone in knowing where glasses/cups were, or in being able to pour liquids.

For someone in the situation of not drinking enough, and where they live on their own, I suspect there's not a lot to be done. They simply won't remember.

If it is a problem in physically being able to take in the liquid, then straws are the norm - the sort of cups with spouts may work, but the person generally wonders why on earth they are being offered such a thing.

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
My husband isn`t drinking enough either.

He used to drink so much, but now, he just forgets. If I make him a drink, I find it cold on the table, right by his chair. If he makes me a drink, he forgets to take his own drink, and I find cold cups of tea in the kitchen.

The only way I can make sure he drinks, is if I stay in the samre room with him, until the drink has been finished. But if I prompt him too much, he gets cross.

The only time he really feels thirsty is if we have salty food. But too much salt isn`t good for anyone, so it`s not an option.


Registered User
May 12, 2006
west sussex
When I am making a drink for us mum always refuses it and says that she's only just had a drink.

She cerntainly won't just drink plain water, hot chocolate, or coffee with sugar in it seems to do the trick, and althogh she says that the cup is too big, once she starts to drink she finishes the lot.

There are days that she complains that she has a dry mouth, and that her lips are sticking together, but even then she won't accept that we need to get more fluid into her.


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
It was very difficult to get enough liquid into my mother and I am sure that was one of the main causes of her sudden death.

She had nutridrinks brought by the nurses which she drank because she liked the nurses. Of course that stopped when the nurses decided she was better and they didn't need to come round any more.