I badly need your help!! Father refusing to drink water

Posted by aliali @aliali, Feb 25, 2019

My dad, 78, is suffering from several diseases (diabetes; gangrene due to diabetes; the loss of vision due to diabetes; hypertension). Nowadays, his kidneys begin to suffer also. He has repeatedly rejected drinking water and said the cause is that the water is “impure”, “salty” and “not tasteless as it must be”. I have again and again asked him to stay hydrated, and mentioned to him how his health is declining due to such behaviors, but it barely worked!! I could force him to obey my orders, but you totally know how doing so is immoral ! Lying is also prohibited to me; I am seeking a “gentle”, “honest” and “satisfactory” manner to help him take care of himself and maintain a better health. Please help me; the water given to my dad is totally pure. I do not know what to do. What do you suggest?

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I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with this, that must be very difficult to handle and stressful with your farher’s health issues.
Regarding the hydration issue itself- will he drink other hydrating drinks, or eat ice cubes or popsicles?
It sounds like it could be helpful to have medical assistance- has he seen the doctor recently? Have you looked into whether he qualifies for in-home care of any sort?

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Hi @aliali – I'm sorry to hear about your struggles with your dad. I know its not easy to get an adult person to do anything they don't want to do. I'm wondering if he is doing okay otherwise with eating a reasonable diet? If so, I would suggest including plenty of fruits and veggies,adding soup to every meal, keeping popsicles and frozen ices in the freezer, and stocking up on fruit and vegetable juice. I'm also wondering if you might find more support over in the Caregivers Group. If you have a chance, check out this link: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers/

Do you live with your dad – or close by? Does he have a primary caregiver or is he on his own? This is a difficult situation and my heart is going out to you as you try to make sure he is safe and well-hydrated.

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@aliali I can feel your concern for your father, it must be very difficult. Does he realize that if he doesn’t drink more he could end up on having to get fluids intravenously?
Have you tried flavored water, either by adding some lemon or lime juice to it, or purchasing some non-carbonated ones like Hint? Even juice would help. When my son and daughter were young they liked to drink apple juice a lot. I didn’t want them drinking that much of it so I always did half juice, half water. Maybe adding flavor to the water it would be more appealing to him.
JK

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Hi @aliali, you'll notice that I moved your message to the Caregivers group as Debbra suggested. You have received great advice from fellow members. As others have suggested, water is not the only source of hydration. Is your father refusing all liquids? Is he eating? It may be that his taste buds have changed making the water taste different to him and leading him to refuse to drink it. I agree with @tiymay that it sounds like you could use the support of a professional care worker or medical professional to talk with your dad. I look forward to you coming back to the conversation to answer the questions so we can understand your situation better and continue to support you through this trying time.

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He is already admitted to the hospital. He rejected also taking medication and syringe and thus still suffering from pain; how to deal with stubborn people??

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@tiymay

I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with this, that must be very difficult to handle and stressful with your farher’s health issues.
Regarding the hydration issue itself- will he drink other hydrating drinks, or eat ice cubes or popsicles?
It sounds like it could be helpful to have medical assistance- has he seen the doctor recently? Have you looked into whether he qualifies for in-home care of any sort?

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I think the obstacle I have to deal with is not just hydration; it is “How to adhere to the physician regulations??”. He rejected drinking water, having medication and syringe. Thus, his CT scan has been delayed two days; he is still suffering from pain due his gangrenous toes!!

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@debbraw

Hi @aliali – I'm sorry to hear about your struggles with your dad. I know its not easy to get an adult person to do anything they don't want to do. I'm wondering if he is doing okay otherwise with eating a reasonable diet? If so, I would suggest including plenty of fruits and veggies,adding soup to every meal, keeping popsicles and frozen ices in the freezer, and stocking up on fruit and vegetable juice. I'm also wondering if you might find more support over in the Caregivers Group. If you have a chance, check out this link: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers/

Do you live with your dad – or close by? Does he have a primary caregiver or is he on his own? This is a difficult situation and my heart is going out to you as you try to make sure he is safe and well-hydrated.

Jump to this post

Regarding his diet, he would reject having his meals on time again and again and he is diabetic; he neither exercises nor has insulin medication. I am lliving with my dad but still cannot do anything if he does not adhere to the physicians regulations. I have again and again stated the adverse effects of such behaviors; when I say yo him “Your foot is likely to be amputated”, he becomes extremely concerned about that and aware that this matter is serious, and would promise me to follow a healthy life. but he would very rarely do so !!

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@aliali

Regarding his diet, he would reject having his meals on time again and again and he is diabetic; he neither exercises nor has insulin medication. I am lliving with my dad but still cannot do anything if he does not adhere to the physicians regulations. I have again and again stated the adverse effects of such behaviors; when I say yo him “Your foot is likely to be amputated”, he becomes extremely concerned about that and aware that this matter is serious, and would promise me to follow a healthy life. but he would very rarely do so !!

Jump to this post

Hi @aliali I am Scott and I am sorry to read of your dad's health challenges. I was my wife's primary caregiver for many years and understand how challenging and upsetting it can be when our loved one/patient doesn't follow directions. Especially true when it is for their own good.

In my wife's case, more often than not, she would reject my suggestions, but when the doctor ordered it, she finally listened. At one point her doctor told her if she didn't follow his directions he would not be her doctor any longer.

Another thing with my wife was over the course of her illness her tastebuds frequently changed and what was once a pleasurable food became intollerable. Things she enjoyed her whole life became enemies on her plate so I kept trying differet foods and finally ended fixing very bland, plain foods for her. We ended up eating exactly the same meals for years!

As far as hydration, I ran the gamut of water, tea, coffee, crystal lite, herbal teas, ice tea, soda water, and more!

Another thing that I remember was tough for me as a caregiver was realizing (and remembering) I could not control my wife's actions and reactions. I could suggest, coax, etc., but if she really resisted I had to let her follow herself and when things became uncomfortable enough she would usually come around to what had been suggested for her. I had to carefully pick my fights and invest my energy in only the most important.

Each patient and each caregiver is different, but I offer our experiences here for your consideration.

Strength, courage, and peace!

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@aliali I am sorry to hear that you are having trouble keeping your father hydrated. Your easiest fix might be to purchase gallons of spring water. If this is not an option, you might try sharing weak coffee or herbal tea with your father, or just warm water. Perhaps he does not like cold water, I do not. Having someone to share a cup with makes everything better. Offering him foods high in fluid will also help. You can try watermelon, celery, broth, tomato juice. If he will drink bottled water, I suggest you purchase a few bottles of spring water and refill the bottles from the tap or with boiled water. Just don't let him catch you refilling them. One person I knew was having problems getting her water down, so she purchased 3 liter bottles and marked them into thirds. She had to drink one portion every 90 minutes hours during the day (7, 8:30, 10, 11:30, 1, 2:30, 4, 5:30 and 7) to finish all in one day. Good luck and God Bless.

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My husband was not a big water drinker and I used watermelon, fruit juices, etc, to encourage him to get enough fluids.

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