9 Signs of Dehydration in Someone With Dementia

People with advancing dementias are vulnerable to dehydration for several reasons. Mainly, they may forget to drink or to express thirst. Dementia can also alter signals of thirst and hunger to the brain, so your loved one may not even recognize the usual physical cues that tell the rest of us to drink some water. Medications and bouts of vomiting or diarrhea can also lead to dehydration.

What to look for:

  • The person feels warm to the touch.

  • There's an increase in confusion (although by late dementia, this can be hard to detect).

  • Lips are cracked and dry.

  • Skin is drier than usual.

  • The person may complain of headache.

  • Urine is dark and strong smelling.

  • Eyes become sunken.

  • The pulse is faster.

  • Blood pressure is lower.

Find out more about dehydration.

Paula Spencer Scott

Paula Spencer Scott is the author of Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical Tips and Soul-Saving Wisdom for Caregivers and much of the Alzheimer's and caregiving content on Caring. See full bio