Drinking water to quench our thirst is a basic instinct that most of us have, but those who suffer from degenerative neurological diseases have trouble staying hydrated since the part of the brain which recognizes dehydration doesn’t always work properly.
People with dementia can simply forget to drink, or where to find water. There might be stages of the disease where the patient forgets how to drink or swallow.
A young engineer with a heart of gold rolled his sleeves up to help his grandmother, who has dementia, fight dehydration when he encountered the scary reality of the disease in a hospital.
The thought occurred to Lewis Hornby after his grandmother Pat had to be hospitalized for dehydration, spending 24 hours getting IV fluids.
In order to help his grandmother and many more, he developed Jelly Drops which are bite-sized edible water pods that come in many colors. These tasty treats which are over 90% of water were also a part of his university master's degree.
These treats are almost all-water except the gelling agents and electrolytes that make up 10% of their composition. They come in a box of chocolates, and their lively colors make them even more attractive to the patients.
During the process of developing the idea, Hornby realized that people with dementia find eating much easier than drinking. When they are introduced with water they can eat in the form of a treat, they instantly recognize it and know how to interact with it.
According to Hornby, “When first offered, grandma ate seven Jelly Crops in 10 minutes, the equivalent to a cup full of water – something that would usually take hours and require much more assistance.”
Needless to say, everyone was happy with his project. Now in 2020, Hornby and his team are working hard to make Jelly Drops available to purchase. It will be available to individuals as well as care homes.
The product is still on trial; however, his grandmother Pat is not the only one who enjoys the tasty treats.
There are some young fans present too.
Hornby and his sweet grandmother Pat’s story is an example of how inventions can stem from needs, but it is the compassion that makes the most impact and warms our hearts.