Dehydration in the elderly population is an incredibly common phenomenon due to reasons like taking certain medications. However, dehydration in dementia patients is an even more pressing concern in skilled nursing homes across the U.S. Dementia patients are far more likely to simply forget when their last drink was; the part of the brain that sends thirst signals may also be impacted. Without diligence in every aspect of the word, many patients would simply not get the fluid intake necessary for basic function.
Dehydration is a dangerous possibility amongst dementia patients. It’s a very real issue, but there are ways to combat it through the meals they consume. Extra precautions like these need to be taken in order to avoid potential devastating results.
1. Offering Food High in Water Content
This is a simple step that can be taken to combat dehydration. Although on its own it most likely wouldn’t be enough, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. There are so many great fruits, vegetables, and broths that are high in water content. Fruits like strawberries and watermelon are over 90% water, while broths and certain soups are typically water-based are about the same. These are just to name a few. In the vegetable department, peppers, cucumbers, and celery are all amazing (again, just to name a few). Even yogurt and skim milk are great sources of water content. That’s why here at GKM, we ensure fresh fruits, vegetables, and other sources high in water content in order to ensure that the patients, especially those with dementia, that we service are getting what they need from our meals.
2. Offering a Variety of Drinks
Offering several varieties of drinks during meal times so to ensure that every patient has something they like is an added bonus. Coffee, tea, juice, water, or anything in between needs to be offered as a way to remind dementia patients in particular to drink throughout the day. Even if it’s just during these three meals, it’s still better than nothing. Having them offered is a simple reminder to drink throughout the day.
These are just two ways that foodservice management companies should be thinking about your patients, especially those with dementia, when offering menus. GKM always takes those we are serving into consideration and our goal is to make sure everyone is healthy and happy with the options provided. If not, we work around their needs and desires. Keeping dementia patients healthy is a top priority, and it’s our job to help.
Take fifteen minutes out of our day to find out how we can step up your facility for good; contact us now.