An investor from Lancashire has created a type of sweet with dementia patients in mind. Lewis Hornby came up with the idea for Jelly Drops after seeing the trouble his grandmother had while she battled the disease in her later life.
The sweets are designed to help elderly people keep hydrated when it becomes a struggle in the light of dementia. Some 850,000 in the UK suffer from dementia, and taking on enough liquid can become a significant problem.
Forgetting to drink is a particularly prevalent issue and one Mr Hornby hopes to tackle with his Jelly Drops. They are sugar-free water drops consisting of 95 per cent water and electrolytes and are presented in an appealing tear-drop shape, making them easy to get hold of.
Mr Hornby lived in his Grandma Pat’s care home for a month to gain valuable insight into dementia after she was admitted to hospital for dehydration. He sought the expertise of doctors, dieticians and speech and language therapists to refine the concept.
Jelly Drops went on to get a £100K R&D investment from the Alzheimer’s Society, which has launched a new Innovation Accelerator Programme. As a result, the charity will receive a one per cent donation from all of the sweets sold.
They come in a variety of fruity flavours - strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, orange, lemon and lime - and include natural ingredients. A single tray of Jelly Drops contains 24 individual sweets, equating to 300ml of water, which can provide a significant uptake of water in a person with dementia.
Mr Hornby, inventor of Jelly Drops, said: “The initial response to the product has been fantastic - we are very excited to supply the 50,000 people on our waiting list. We have seen a huge demand from both care homes and the families of people with dementia.
"It’s incredible to know that we can help those living with dementia and give comfort to their families and loved ones. It’s been heartwarming to hear the feedback from our first customers; they enjoy Jelly Drops as much as Grandma did.”
Jelly Drops was among the first projects to be accepted into the Innovation Accelerator Programme, and Colin Capper, its head of research development has praised its success. He suggested the sweets are likely to become a widely-available product that will make a difference to those living with dementia.
He added: "Original products and designs like Jelly Drops are key to helping overcome the everyday challenges faced by people with dementia, challenges that have been further amplified by the pandemic.”
It is thought that two million people in the UK will be living with the disease by 2020. Without a cure, there’s no sign of this slowing, but any aids that can help an individual lead a more independent life with dementia is a step in the right direction.