Hydration reminders: What can help my mom to drink water when she doesn't remember to stay hydrated?

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What can help my mom to drink water when she doesn't remember to stay hydrated?

Question

My mom is near kidney renal failure because she doesn't drink enough water. Any suggestions or devices that can help with dehydration? She just doesn't remember to stay hydrated. She has dementia.

Our answer

Many people struggle to meet the daily recommended intake of water. It is especially difficult for people with dementia who may not be able to read their body’s signals. Thankfully, this problem is being addressed by plenty of innovative solutions, with even more in development. Before implementing any behavioural changes or introducing new products check with a doctor to find the recommended fluid intake for your mom.

There are a number of behavioral modifications that may be helpful to promote regular hydration.

  • Associate drinking water to another task so that it becomes part of the routine. For example, include a reminder to drink water with morning medications. This can be reinforced with alarms or sticky notes.
  • If your mom is receiving home support you can request that reminding the client to drink water be added to the care plan.
  • Adding flavouring to the water can make it more appealing, but check with a doctor first to ensure it is safe given the condition of the kidney.
  • Try including fluids other than water into the routine. For example, two or three drinks of decaffeinated tea throughout the day can help with water intake. Similarly, consider juice or having soup for a meal as other ways to get fluids.
  • This article from dailycaring.com introduces some simple behavioural modifications to help get seniors to drink more water.

The Droplet Hydration KitThe Droplet Hydration System by Spearmark Health is a set of products designed to help seniors with dementia to stay hydrated. It looks like a mug, the bottom of which is a Smart Base and uses lights and voice recordings to remind the senior to drink water. The mug that sits on top of the base is lightweight but designed to look like a ceramic mug. While the mug is used for hot drinks, theirs a tumbler glass that fits to the base for cold drinks. Finally, there is a lid that fits both the mug and the glass to reduce spills and control the flow of the drink. Based in Montreal, Eugeria is shipping the Hydration Kit in Canada. This product costs about $60 (Cdn).

There are other hydration reminder solutions that are not specifically designed for people with dementia but may be appropriate for an individual. There are a few suggestions below to explore:

  • Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder is subtle device that attaches to a cup or water bottle. The device lights up when its sensors indicate that you should drink. This product costs about $30 (U.S.) plus a shipping fee, but there are savings when buying more than one.
  • Hidrate Spark Smart Water Bottle by Hidrate is a smart water bottle that pairs with a mobile application to reinforce regular hydration based on individualized hydration goal. The bottle connects to the phone via Bluetooth, and glows to remind the user to drink. This product is also available on amazon.ca and it costs about $80 (Cdn).
  • There are plenty of simple, free mobile applications for senior smartphone users. For example, Drink Water Reminder and Tracker by Phoenix Games LLP is a simple mobile application for iOS devices including the iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. For Android users, Water Drink Reminder by Leap Fitness is a similar app. This article from Healthline lists some more mobile applications for hydration reminders.

A notable product that is not yet available in British Columbia is Jelly Drops. These hydrating drops are designed specifically to help seniors with dementia to drink more water by presenting like sweets. It might be beneficial to monitor as Jelly Drops plans to expand outside of the United Kingdom in the near future.

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