Great British Care Awards
National Dementia Care Awards

Top tips for keeping older people in care settings hydrated


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  • Position drinks so that they are in sight and easily in reach.
  • Only offer small water jugs that are not full to the brim. Many older people find a full jug too heavy to lift and fear spilling it.
  • Ensure the water is not warm, cold water is much nicer.
  • Water glasses should also be small, easy to grip and not too heavy.
  • Reminders to drink are needed as the thirst sensation deteriorates in older age.
  • Have a drink with them – social drinking is so much more acceptable.
  • Make sure that the toilets are clearly marked and accessible. A fear of incontinence can lead to limiting the intake of fluids.
  • Liquid comes in many forms so vary what you offer day to day to avoid boredom and stimulate interest.
  • Offer a choice of still or sparkling water if possible. Just being offered a choice can lead to a worthwhile conversation.
  • Make drinking fun. Add decorations to the glass or prepare mock cocktails.
  • Run Taster Sessions. Offer a range of different drinks and invite comments and discussion about them.
  • Jazz up cordials by mixing them or adding soft fruits.
  • Tea or coffee is routinely offered but is there a choice of teas i.e. fruit tea, peppermint tea, earl grey etc. Is decaffeinated on offer as many more people drink it now?
  • Have a coffee pot on the go in communal areas as the smell can stimulate thirst.
  • Soda water added to cordials can make a change from still drinks
  • Offer savoury drinks like hot Bovril/Marmite as an alternative sometimes.
  • Supper time drinks need to be filling but don’t just offer milky ones. Smoothies go down well at bedtime too