Friday, December 10, 2010

Mom, Drink Your Gatorade!!!

I may have mentioned in another blog that I am caring for my mother who has Alzheimer's Disease. Early this Fall, she went through a period of off-and-on illness that was very puzzling. About three months ago now, she became ill. ...Just not feeling well, in addition to the ongoing increasing confusion, falling about every two weeks or so, and not being able to eat much, and a great deal of sleeping. With Alzheimer's, one is never quite sure just what is going on. It's like taking care of a baby. You know the baby is not well, but it's nearly impossible to discover what the problem is without taking the child to a doctor. Well, after several doctors visits, scans, and blood tests, it was determined that her electrolytes were off and she was dehydrated. The doctor prescribed Gatorade G2, which is excellent for replacing electrolytes, to replace her water requirement, and she slowly got better. She has not fallen in over a few months (as opposed to a few times a month for over a year!), does not "space out," and although the confusion is still present along with other Alzheimer's symptoms, she is doing a whole lot better. I can only feel that if she had been taking care of herself by not fighting her liquid intake, she would still be in robust health. Old people are tricky though, and my mom still hates to drink her daily fluids. She says she has to go to the bathroom all the time. She used to pour her water down the sink when I wasn't looking. Now, I use a drinking jug she can't figure out how to open so she has to drink it all! There is a twisted sort of humor to the situation!

One thing has stood out alarmingly for me, and I really want to share this loud and clear:

Drink enough fluids!

After many situations, some of which have been medically desperate, it became very clear to me that my mother's refusal to drink anything more than a minimal amount of water and other fluids over many years has caused her repeated health issues, and brought a lot of worry, fear and grief to her loved ones. ...And trips to the emergency room. Who knows what deficiencies were caused because of low fluid intake. I shudder to think about it! To make things more complicated, after about the age of 50, our sense of thirst diminishes, but not our need for fluids! Here is a link to a sight that discusses dehydration in detail. Take a few moments to visit them and read about this very important subject. You might even find that you are experiencing some of these symptoms and had no clue that you needed more fluids.

...And how much do you need to drink each day? Well, here is another link from the Mayo Clinic about that subject. So, go grab a glass of delicious water, ...and Cheers to you health!


  1. Thank you for this post. I wish I had been able to make this clear to my Dad. But even his doctors did not press this issue back in 1997.

  2. The symptoms can often go undetected. It is one of those things that become the "norm" for older people. They don't realize that being confused, falling,increased sleeping, etc., is not just part of getting older, and family caregivers think it is just part of aging or dementia too. I just tell everyone I run into about it now. I have become much more conscious about the amount of fluids I get too.