For those with dementia, Jelly Drops can be a helpful addition to stay hydrated.
When caring for someone with dementia, ensuring that they stay healthy is critical.
As the person’s cognition continues to decline, they might be unable to articulate when hungry or thirsty. A common concern for many caregivers is whether their loved one is able to stay hydrated since they may not be aware that they need to drink enough water.
One way to address this risk is to ensure that your loved one is consuming enough liquids or hydrating substances throughout the day.
The main task is providing them with adequate glasses of water and checking in with them to ensure they’re drinking enough liquids. Another option is to incorporate hydrating foods like yogurt or Jelly Drops.
While they might sound like a fun kind of candy, Jelly Drops are actually a smart way to ensure that your loved one is maintaining proper hydration. First available in the United Kingdom, Jelly Drops made their debut in the United States in 2022.
The easy-to-handle format, tasty flavor, and enhanced hydration make them a good water alternative for those with dementia as well as people who don’t typically drink plain water.
They’re made with 95% water and electrolytes to optimize hydration. Additionally, the Jelly Drops don’t rely on artificial dyes or flavorings to create the vibrant colors or six flavor options. They’re also vegan.
Each drop is sugar-free, and one prepackaged pot (a serving size) of drops contains only 10 calories. The drops are fat-free and contain just 2 grams of carbohydrates per pot, as well as just 40 milligrams (mg) of sodium, a necessary electrolyte.
However, there’s no official guidance on the maximum number of Jelly Drops a person can consume.
They don’t have a liquid interior or burst when eaten. Instead, they’re more like a gelatin consistency. Additionally, they’re designed in a tear-drop shape that makes them easy to handle, even for people with disabilities.
An invention born out of love
Jelly Drops were designed by Lewis Hornby, a nutritionist, and launched in July 2020. Hornsby created them after his late grandmother found it difficult to maintain her hydration as she got older. She had been a dentist, so it was essential that these treats be sugar-free.
Jelly Drops are made from 95% water. But they also contain electrolytes which aid in boosting hydration. In this way, they can be more hydrating for more intensely dehydrated people than consuming a glass of water.
According to the brand, each Jelly Drop contains:
- 4.6 mg sodium chloride
- 4.1 mg potassium chloride
- 5.7 mg potassium sorbate
- 4.6 mg sodium benzoate
- 2.8 mg trisodium citrate
- 3.8 mg sodium
Another benefit comes from the format. A sweet treat is more exciting than a glass of water and can also be easier to consume for a person who has difficulty swallowing liquids. A person who might otherwise avoid drinking water because they feel it’s bland is more likely to say yes to this more interesting option.
These drops are sugar-free to keep them low in calories. Likewise, the added electrolytes provide an added boost of essential nutrients. While no studies currently exist to show their effectiveness, anecdotal evidence from nursing homes indicates that they solve many of the problems of elderly hydration.
Dehydration is known to be associated with increased mortality, poorer health overall, and increased healthcare costs for older people. And it can be even more difficult for those with dementia to stay properly hydrated.
Jelly Drops are a great alternative for those with lower mobility and cognitive functions, like those with dementia, but they aren’t the only one. If you’re concerned about how well your parent or loved one is staying hydrated, talk with their primary doctor about strategies to help them consume more fluids.
While often promoted as a tool to help people with dementia avoid dehydration, Jelly Drops also help a wide range of seniors. As people age, their sensitivity to thirst drops, making them more susceptible to dehydration which can also impair cognition.
If you’re looking for a DIY route to make Jelly Drops, understand that you might mimic the look of them, but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to reach the same nutritional content.
Most of the DIY Jelly Drop recipes out there use Jello mixes, which will not only be high in sugar but will lack the electrolytes that you’re looking for.
If you do want to attempt this route, you’ll need to use electrolyte-enhanced water and sugar-free gelatin mix. (Be aware that some artificial sweeteners may be aggravating for those with gastrointestinal issues.) You’ll also need to only warm the water slightly and not boil it as most gelatine recipes recommend. Boiling will destroy the electrolytes.
This type of treat might make a great hydrating snack for those with dementia but will likely lack the texture of a Jelly Drop that makes it easy for them to eat on their own.
Dehydration is a real concern for everyone but can be especially dangerous for seniors and those with dementia.
Many seniors have reduced awareness of thirst. Meanwhile, individuals with dementia may find it difficult to remember to drink enough water or have difficulty swallowing.
Jelly Drops can be a great way to ensure that seniors stay hydrated and also combat the blandness often associated with plain water. More importantly, this sugar-free, vegan, electrolyte-rich alternative has a teardrop shape that’s easier for people with disabilities to handle.