What are Jelly Drops, you might wonder? Despite their name, Jelly Drops are not candies but rather a smart and enjoyable way to ensure proper hydration for individuals with dementia. Originally introduced in the United Kingdom, Jelly Drops made their debut in the United States in 2022. These innovative drops are designed to be easy to handle, with a tasty flavor that makes them an appealing alternative to plain water. Comprising 95% water and electrolytes, Jelly Drops optimize hydration. Moreover, they do not rely on artificial dyes or flavorings, offering six natural flavor options. Furthermore, Jelly Drops are vegan, sugar-free, low in calories, fat-free, and contain only 2 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Each serving also contains 40 milligrams (mg) of sodium, an essential electrolyte.
Unlike traditional jelly or gummy treats, Jelly Drops do not have a liquid interior or burst when eaten. Instead, they have a gelatin consistency and are shaped like teardrops, making them easy to handle, even for individuals with disabilities. The creation of Jelly Drops stems from the love and concern of Lewis Hornby, a nutritionist who developed them after witnessing his late grandmother's struggle to maintain hydration as she aged. Given her background as a dentist, it was crucial for Hornby to create a sugar-free treat.
Now, let's address the question of whether Jelly Drops truly provide superior hydration. With their composition of 95% water and added electrolytes, Jelly Drops offer a more hydrating option for individuals experiencing severe dehydration compared to consuming a glass of water alone. Each Jelly Drop contains sodium chloride, potassium chloride, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, trisodium citrate, and sodium. These electrolytes contribute to boosting hydration levels. Moreover, the format of Jelly Drops, resembling a sweet treat rather than a plain glass of water, can be more enticing and easier to consume for individuals who struggle with swallowing liquids. This appealing option is especially beneficial for those who find water bland and uninteresting.
While no studies currently exist to provide scientific evidence of Jelly Drops' effectiveness, anecdotal evidence from nursing homes suggests that they have successfully addressed the problem of elderly dehydration. However, it is important to note that Jelly Drops contain sucralose, which may not be suitable for individuals with gastrointestinal issues or diabetes.
Dehydration is a prevalent concern for older individuals, as it is associated with increased mortality, overall poor health, and higher healthcare costs. This issue becomes even more challenging for those with dementia, who may have reduced mobility and cognitive function. Jelly Drops offer a fantastic alternative for individuals with lower mobility and cognitive function, but they are not the only solution. If you are concerned about your parent or loved one's hydration, it is advisable to consult their primary doctor for strategies to increase fluid intake. Additionally, educating yourself about foods that promote hydration can provide further assistance.
Although Jelly Drops are often marketed as a tool to prevent dehydration in individuals with dementia, they can benefit a wide range of seniors. As individuals age, their sensitivity to thirst decreases, making them more susceptible to dehydration, which can also impair cognition.
If you are considering creating DIY Jelly Drops, it is important to note that while you may achieve a similar appearance, replicating their nutritional content is unlikely. Most DIY Jelly Drop recipes utilize Jello mixes, which are high in sugar and lack the necessary electrolytes. However, if you choose to go down this route, you can attempt to create Jelly Drops using electrolyte-enhanced water and sugar-free gelatin mix. It is crucial to be aware that some artificial sweeteners may aggravate gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, it is important to warm the water only slightly and avoid boiling it, as boiling destroys the electrolytes. DIY Jelly Drops may serve as a hydrating snack for individuals with dementia but may lack the texture and ease of consumption found in commercially available Jelly Drops.
In conclusion, dehydration poses a significant risk to individuals, particularly those with dementia. Seniors often have reduced awareness of thirst, while individuals with dementia may struggle to remember to drink water or have difficulty swallowing. Jelly Drops provide an effective solution to ensure seniors stay hydrated while combating the blandness often associated with plain water. Furthermore, these sugar-free, vegan, electrolyte-rich drops are shaped like teardrops, making them easy for individuals with disabilities to handle.
By incorporating Jelly Drops into a comprehensive hydration strategy, caregivers can enhance their loved ones' overall well-being and quality of life.