When we feel thirsty, we simply reach for a drink. What happens when dementia impairs the sensory signals that control thirst?
Australian researchers have found that as people age, the part of the brain that controls thirst seems to send weaker input to the brain to let people know they should drink. In addition, those with dementia have further complications with thirst alarms as parts of the brain have been damaged and functions like recognizing the triggers for rehydration are often lost.
Dementia caregivers must be aware of the need to keep the person with dementia fully hydrated as those thirst triggers where someone feels thirsty and can make the connection to obtain a drink; are significantly impaired.
Along with weight loss, monitoring proper hydration is a key to maintaining the functionality of the person with dementia.