“Let’s take a quick water break!”
“Who wants a little bit of water?”
“Time to hydrate!”
These are some of my most frequently used phrases while working in the park. I say them all the time, more than I can count. That’s because I want to make sure our residents stay hydrated. It’s one of the most important aspects of the Activity job – next only to keeping them active and having fun. It’s also one I take very seriously. As the body ages, water becomes more and more important to keep it nourished and working properly. Imagine our bodies are a car that needs gas to keep it going, and that gas is water. If we run on empty (or, y’know, don’t drink the amount of water that we should), some problems can start to arise. Dehydration is the start of some very serious problems, like urinary tract infections, worsened brain functions, and worsened functioning of other vital organs like the kidneys.
As we age, our sense of thirst fades, so we gradually stop drinking as much water (or any liquid!). Add in a memory impairment, and the likelihood of you taking a drink of water greatly decreases. It acts like double damage – not only do they not feel thirsty, but they could have trouble reminding themselves to drink. Without a memory impairment, most people will make sure they’re hydrating, even if they’re not thirsty. That’s why hydration is a big part of our daily activities. Every fifteen to twenty minutes, I am reminding our loved ones to take a drink from their individual cups which are provided to them each day! We love to play hydration games as water reminders, too, which breaks us away from the monotony of our Activities staff simply asking them to drink, and instead gets them involved with games that remind them to drink. Our most effective game is Left, Right, Drink! With this game, the residents roll a die, and each side has a number which corresponds to an instruction. For example, if the resident rolls a 3, they take a drink! If they roll a 2, the person to their left takes a drink. So on and so forth. We like to get creative with our regular games as well, transforming them into drinking games of their own, or choosing words for the day that we take a drink for if they’re spoken.
Not only does drinking water prevent bad things from happening in our bodies, but it assists in having good things happen to our body too! For instance, the more water you drink, the less likely you are to have constipation or other digestive problems. More water also means more brain power! Water consumption can help prevent dementia in the long run. Even being mildly dehydrated can impair brain cells, as water helps to increase oxygen and blood flow, allowing the gears of the brain to turn smoothly! Wonder where to start when it comes to water? The recommended amount for men is 15 cups and the recommended amount for women is 11 cups!
Even if water isn’t the cure for everything, there’s one thing all experts agree on – water is good for you!
Sensations prides itself on being a safe facility that specializes in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Each of Sensations’ design elements ensures safety and security for our residents. If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with memory impairment and are looking for information, please feel free to call us at (517) 543-8101. Our office hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.