Did you know we should all be drinking between 6-8 glasses of water or fluid each day to stay hydrated to ensure our bodies can function properly?
So many of us are guilty of not drinking enough fluids, leaving us feeling exhausted. Long term dehydration can be troubling, with evidence suggesting you can be at a greater risk of UTIs, constipation and kidney failure. In very serious cases, dehydration can kill.
If you are supporting someone with a learning disability, supporting them to stay hydrated throughout the day is essential for their health and wellbeing, especially if the person leads an active lifestyle, or needs additional support with eating and drinking.
Who is at risk of dehydration?
- People who need additional support with eating and drinking
- People who have swallowing difficulties
- People who lead an active lifestyle
- People who take certain medications that can affect fluid balance in the body, including diuretics, antacids, blood pressure medication etc
- People with a diagnosis of dementia or suspected diagnosis
Signs someone may be dehydrated
- pain when urinating (UTIs)
- dry mouth, lips or eyes
- lack of concentration
Supporting someone to stay hydrated: our top tips
- It doesn't have to just be water - If the person you are supporting doesn't like water, they aren't alone! Coffee, tea, fruit juice, squash and smoothies all count. However, a person should only have 150ml of fruit juice or smoothie per day
- Offer the person hydrating foods - Foods high in water content like watermelon, salads, sorbet and chilled soups can be fantastic for ensuring you stay hydrated
- Keep track - There are plenty of ways to keep track and encourage good hydration practice, including apps to remind the person to hydrate or you can create a hydration chart.
- Use markings - You can purchase re-usable water bottles that feature time stamp markings that remind you to take a sip. Equally, if you are handy with a permanent marker, you could support the person to repurpose a water bottle they already own.
For more information on nutrition and hydration, you can view our Wellbeing for Life Booklet: Eating and Drinking.