In this “Nutrition and Hydration Week 2015” it seems appropriate to mention an email we received a few weeks ago from Anne, whose father has recently entered a care home after a series of small strokes. In order to keep up the family connection and to help manage his care they set up Mindings in his room. Anne describes Mindings as a “godsend”:
(Mindings) is really helping him to feel that he knows a little bit about what is going on each day – otherwise he has no way of remembering… It reminds him of his appointments and who is visiting… and it also helps us tell him about last minute changes to plans – e.g. “the traffic is bad, I’ll be a bit later than usual”.
Now, we always love hearing about how people use Mindings in ways that we often never envisaged, and Anne told us of a new use that really seems to be making a difference to her father. Anne sends text messages to remind him to “Drink Water!”.
Hydration is huge problem among seniors. It can cause dizziness and confusion, leading to falls; urinary infections and constipation; and increased anxiety and sleeping problems. It’s known older people are less sensitive to the feeling of thirst (1), and in particular people living with Alzheimer’s are less likely to feel thirsty, and can confuse feeling thirsty with feeling hungry (2). And, according to a study by The Royal Society of Medicine, care home residents are five times more likely to be dehydrated on hospital admission than those living at home.
So, using Mindings to remind people to drink more water is a great idea, with huge well-being benefits.
Our Flexible Notes feature is perfect for automating this kind of reminder. A personalised message, accompanied by a picture, can be set up to appear on-screen at set times through the day – it can even be the only item on-screen for the period of duration to make sure it’s seen.
Pictures are very important as as with dementia the ability to interpret images can last beyond when the ability to read diminishes. In this example, we’ve just used a picture of a glass of water, but in one of our hospital-based clinical trials an occupational therapist suggested to us that a picture of a someone eating is more likely to stimulate a patient to eat than a picture of a plate of food. This is something we would love to test. We’d be interested in seeing what would work best:
- A picture of a glass of water
- A picture of someone drinking water
- A picture of the user themself drinking water
- A picture of a friend, loved-one or carer drinking water
Is this a more affective note than one with a picture of a glass of water on its own?
If anyone has some experience of this we’d love to hear about it. In the meantime we’re delighted that Mindings is helping tackle this serious problem for at least one user!
These ‘case studies’ are genuine feedback from users – often unsolicited. We use their own words where possible, but we edit their stories for brevity. We may change the names of users and be vague about their location for privacy reasons. Pictures are genuine and supplied by users, but may be edited for privacy reasons or enhanced for clarity.
1. Kenney WL, Chiu P. Influence of age on thirst and fluid intake. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 26 2001;33:1524-32
2. Albert SG, Nakra BR, Grossberg GT, Carminal Er. Drinking behaviour and vasopressin responses to hyperosmolarity in Alzheimer’s disease. International Psychogeriatrics 27 1994;6:79-86