What Causes Some Aging Adults with Dementia to Fear Water?

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Water is the most life-sustaining substance on the earth, and your aging loved one uses it to stay hydrated, bathe, and clean the home. Since we’ve all been around water since the day we were born, it may be baffling to discover that your loved one is suddenly afraid of it. Seniors with dementia sometimes develop a fear of water as part of their condition, and understanding the possible reasons for it can help you find new ways to address the anxiety.

They Cannot See It

Dementia affects a person’s visual perception. For instance, your loved one may be afraid to step on dark spots on the floor because he or she thinks they are holes in the ground. This skewed sense of perception also impacts how your loved one views water. Since water is clear, it can look invisible to seniors with dementia, which may make it unappealing to drink. If you’re trying to help your loved one stay hydrated, tint the water with his or her favorite flavor of colored juice.

They Confuse Sensation

Many seniors fear water falling on them in the shower. Your loved one may move away from the shower head or even scream when placed beneath the water. Some seniors describe this sensation as having something crawling on them. Dementia alters how seniors feel certain things, and sensory input is often heightened. Try using a low-pressure setting during showers, or switch to baths. If your loved one still gets upset, use a calm, soothing voice to provide reassurance. 

Professional caregivers with training and experience in caring for seniors with dementia are often able to employ several different techniques that calm anxiety. Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Montgomery Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

They Don’t Like the Water Temperature

Many older adults become more sensitive to temperatures in their environment because of aging skin. The altered sensations experienced by seniors with dementia can make this even more pronounced. Your loved one may fear water if he or she perceives it to be too cold or hot. Try adjusting the temperature to a more comfortable setting.

They Associate It with Bathing

In some cases, your loved one may not fear water. Instead, he or she may react with alarm during bath time out of embarrassment. Bath time is often traumatic for older adults who are embarrassed to have help during this delicate part of the day. While your loved one may have dementia, he or she still retains many feelings regarding privacy and appropriate behavior. If you suspect this is the case, having professional support with this task may eliminate bath time problems. 

An experienced professional caregiver who treats your loved one with dignity and respect can ease those feelings of embarrassment. For dementia care Montgomery families can count on, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our compassionate caregivers use revolutionary memory care programs to help seniors stave off the progression of dementia, and they can also assist with a wide variety of important everyday tasks, including bathing, grooming, exercise, and cooking.

They Fear Falling

A senior with dementia who has ever fallen on a slippery surface may associate water with painful injuries. Help your loved one feel secure around water by offering an extra hand for support. You can also use things such as grab bars and nonskid mats to help your loved one feel more comfortable around wet areas in the bathroom or kitchen.

Water is vital to life and wellbeing, so if your loved one shows signs of fearing water, try these suggestions to relieve his or her anxiety. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care Montgomery, AL, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (334) 593-3988 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.

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