This story comes from the UK. By now it’s probably done the rounds. But I wanted to collect this one.
Lewis Hornby just made life a whole lot easier for seniors living with dementia by taking the time to understand them.
The London based student wanted to help his own grandmother who was living with the condition when he noticed how difficult it was for her to stay hydrated.
Lewis says on the James Dyson Award website, “It is very easy for people with dementia to become dehydrated. Many no longer feel thirst, don’t know how to quench thirst, or don’t have the dexterity to drink.”
Lewis spoke to dementia psychologists, lived in a dementia care home for a week, talked to doctors about how to create a hydrating product and returned to the home many times to test various incarnations of his product.
The result was these colourful treats.
Made from about 90% water, gelling agents and electrolytes to help hydration, these Jelly Drops are packaged as treats that people with dementia can eat easily.
“From my observations, people with dementia find eating much easier than drinking. Even still, it can be difficult to engage and encourage them to eat. I found the best way to overcome this is to offer them a treat! This format excites people with dementia, they instantly recognize it and know how to interact with it,” Lewis explains.
“Jelly Drops builds on this insight – these bright, tasty treats attract the attention of people with dementia, and the firm, easy to grip ‘drops’ makes them simple to pick up. The box itself contains many features to help people with dementia interact with it, and crucially it doesn’t look like a medical device.”
When the Jelly Drops were offered to Lewis’ grandmother, she ate about 7 in 10 minutes which was roughly the equivalent of a cup of water — a feat that would usually take hours and much more assistance.
According to Lewis, eating the whole box would account for around half the necessary daily fluid intake.
He goes on to stress, “For people with dementia, the symptoms of dehydration are often mistakenly attributed to their underlying condition, meaning it can easily go unnoticed until it becomes life-threatening. About a year ago my grandma was unexpectedly rushed to hospital, she was found to be severely dehydrated. Thankfully, after 24 hours on IV fluids, she was back to her normal happy self, and is still enjoying a good quality of life to this day.”
Goes to show, not all superheroes wear capes.