Elderly patient refuses to drink water because she is so afraid of having an accident? - AgingCare.com

Elderly patient refuses to drink water because she is so afraid of having an accident?

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I have been caregiving for my grandma with dementia. She has been refusing to drink coffee or water lately because she is so embarrassed about having an accident. When I put any drink in front of her she always reminds me of her fear of an accident and will take the tiniest sips. She will refuse soup or fruit too because of the fear she will have diarrhea from it. She seems a little dehydrated from this and her skin gets very dry. She also gets constipated a lot because she refuses to eat any veggies. I try to downplay her embarrassment of an accident, telling her if she does have one, I will just clean it up and it won't be a big deal at all. She wears diapers and while she is incontinent, clean up is pretty easy, but she is just completely embarrassed about anything to do with that although she has needed caregiver assistance for years. Is there anything else I can do to get her over her fear or some water in her??

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My parents have both suffered from incontinence. My father did the same as your grandmother is doing. He stopped drinking very much. We were never successful in getting him to drink more. We did the best we could to get liquid into him. He liked salads, which helped. He would also drink a little of the small bottles of water that you can buy at the grocery store. The fear of not making it to the bathroom is very real to them. I could understand it, since the abdominal muscles can get so weak and it takes a long time to make it to the bathroom. He wore protective undergarments, but still preferred not to wet them. We put a potty chair in the living room. It wasn't the loveliest of furniture, but it can save the embarrassment and inconvenience of having an accident.

My mother wouldn't drink anything but tea, which is not good when the bladder is excitable. She drinks a lot of water now because I started bringing in the little bottles from the store. I recycle the plastic. I used to refill them from a larger bottle, but that got to be a bit of a pain because she was drinking so much. She has accidents, but I don't make a big deal out of them. Her bladder and abdominal muscles are weak and she is very slow. Fortunately she is on the hardwood by the time she starts leaking, so it is easy to clean. She won't wear protective undergarments.

I've often thought about how much easier getting older would be if the bladder and bowels kept acting right. It can be miserable for older people who can't accept it. I know your grandmother has dementia, but maybe you can put a potty chair nearby, buy her some little bottles of water, and let her know that it is okay if some accidents do happen. They happen for a lot of older people.
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She is constipated also because she isn't getting enough water. Fiber and water work together to keep things moving regularly. Another reason she may be afraid of having an accident is that currently whenever she does drink it runs right through her. If you've ever watered a plant that is dried out you will notice that the soil doesn't retain the water at first and the water runs right through. She needs to take small sips every 15 minutes to get her rehydrated. Without water she runs the risk of UTIs and worse. UTIs can land her in the hospital. You can explain all these consequences to her. If she continues to refuse water call her doctor.
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I would talk to her doctor about antidepressant/antianxiety meds.
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