One of the everyday challenges that family caregivers face when taking care of a loved one with dementia is finding ways to provide nutrition and hydration without increasing stress.
People with dementia are prone to dehydration due to limited food and water intake.
A 2019 report from UCLA backs me up by saying that countless seniors (about 40 percent) are “chronically dehydrated.” That’s where Jelly Drops come in.
What Are Jelly Drops?
Jelly Drops are gelatin-like drops that are 95 percent water (and sugar-free as well) and have electrolytes.
A senior can eat Jelly Drops as a sweet treat to ward off dehydration. They’re especially recommended for dementia patients, but all seniors can enjoy Jelly Drops.
After doing more research and work in 2023, the company just came out with new Jelly Drops Snackpots. These are a different kind of the popular Original Tray sweets.
Snackpots cost less, are simpler to hold, use half as much packaging, and taste even better.
They’ve been endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK, where the Jelly Drops founder lives.
Whether the senior in your life simply forgets to drink water due to their dementia or Alzheimer’s disease or they struggle with mobility and can’t access much water, Jelly Drops can help.
They’re also useful for those seniors who don’t like the flavorlessness of water and for those who are living in care homes where they may be dependent on staff to bring them their daily water intake.
Who Invented Jelly Drops?
Founder Lewis Hornby is the creator and designer of Jelly Drops. He got the idea after his late grandmother, Grandma Pat, was rushed to the hospital with severe dehydration.
She loved candies, so he set out to create a way to solve the dehydration dilemma in seniors. He also wanted his product to taste good.
He didn’t do this alone. Hornby also partnered with dementia psychologists, doctors, and even dementia patients to finesse Jelly Drops into the award-winning treat they are today (yes, they have received numerous honors, including the Helen Hamlyn Design Award and the National Dementia Care Awards Innovation Of The Year 2020).
Despite that Jelly Drops may taste sweet and come in an assortment of bright colors, they’re not full of sugar. In fact, they’re completely sugar-free.
The outer surface of Jelly Drops is smooth. Inside, the teardrop shape candies are solid without a splashing liquid center that can be off-putting to some.
All the colors used to make Jelly Drops are naturally-sourced, and seniors can select from six unique flavors, which are each artificially and naturally flavored.
The treats are even vegan and made with recyclable packaging.
The best part about Jelly Drops? Each candy contains 95 per cent water as well as electrolytes, so they are an enjoyable way to increase your fluid intake.
Watch my video review of Jelly Drops
What Are The Ingredients In Jelly Drops?
According to their website, the ingredients are…
- Water (95%)
- Gellan Gum
- Xanthan Gum
- Locust Bean Gum
- Acacia Gum
- Lactic Acid
- Citric Acid
- Malic Acid
- Potassium Sorbate
- Natural Flavors
- Black Carrot Juice
- Spirulina Extract
- Sodium Benzoate (to maintain freshness)
- Potassium Chloride
- Trisodium Citrate
The amount of electrolytes per drop is…
- Sodium Chloride – 4.6 mg
- Potassium Chloride – 4.1 mg
- Potassium Sorbate – 5.7 mg
- Sodium Benzoate – 4.6 mg
- Trisodium Citrate – 2.8 mg
- Sodium – 3.8 mg
How Do Jelly Drops Work?
Unlike real candy, which has very low moisture levels, Jelly Drops are almost 100 percent water.
All your senior parent or loved one has to do is open the tray (or you can open it for them), select a Jelly Drop flavor they want to snack on, and pop one (or more) in their mouth.
We’ll talk later about how many Jelly Drops a senior can ingest per day, so be sure to check that out.
Jelly Drops, since they contain 95 percent water, can support hydration in a senior who hasn’t been drinking enough water that day.
You’ll recall from the last section that Jelly Drops contain electrolytes as well, which is hugely important.
You see, as you sweat, your body loses electrolytes. While drinking a glass of water after working up a sweat can reduce that uncomfortable thirsty feeling, water does not contain electrolytes.
If your electrolyte levels remain low, then you’re not truly hydrated no matter how much water you drink.
You need to restore those electrolytes, and Jelly Drops can make a real difference before dehydration becomes a more serious problem.
Usually, the alternative is to consume sports beverages such as Gatorade or a beverage like Pedialyte.
Gatorade, however, is bogged down with sugars while Pedialyte can be unappealing to a lot of people, even the flavored versions.
Jelly Drops are palatable, easy to eat, and taste like a dessert. Your senior parent or loved one won’t add to their sugars by enjoying Jelly Drops, only hydrate themselves through nourishing water and electrolytes.
For Seniors With Swallowing Difficulties
It’s a very common challenge for people with dementia to be struggling with swallowing.
With Jelly Drops, caregivers can give their loved one a tasty and nutritious snack that is easy to swallow and digestible.
Jelly Drops are NOT recommended for people with swallowing difficulties.
The company recommends that you check with a speech language therapist before purchasing, if you have any concerns about your loved one being able to swallow them.
Can Dehydration Make Alzheimer’s Worse?
How much water should adults be consuming daily? According to an article on Healthline, “The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has suggested that women drink around 9 cups of water daily and men around 12.5 cups a day.“
That said, we’ve already established that those with Alzheimer’s or dementia might struggle to remember to drink or might not always have an easy means to access water throughout the day.
In some instances, a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient can even lose the ability to recognize that they feel thirsty.
Failing to drink will bring on a variety of dehydration symptoms.
Besides feeling thirsty, some of the symptoms of dehydration can include constipation, urinary tract infections, confusion, and headaches, according to Alzheimer’s.org.
Those symptoms, in particular, can worsen memory problems, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
It’s not only that. In a 2020 article in Cognitive Vitality through the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, it was reported that the neurons in dehydrated adults were found to work harder when doing basic tasks.
Cognitive Vitality then says that while young, healthy adults might experience nothing more than mood changes from being dehydrated but pushing through with a task, that the elderly could have more noticeable drops in cognitive decline when dehydrated and trying to do the same.
The article cites a collection of more than 30 studies done on the topic that includes over 400 participants in all.
Those who were dehydrated to the point where the equivalent is more than two percent body mass reduction experienced “significant impairments on attention, executive function, and motor coordination.”
Are Jelly Drops Safe?
Whether your senior parent or loved one suffers from dementia or they’re just forgetful about drinking water, you’re interested in offering them Jelly Drops. How safe are these?
Let’s take a look at what Jelly Drops are made of and how nutritious they are to answer that question.
From a nutritional standpoint, Jelly Drops are very safe.
A half-cup of Jelly Drops contains only 15 calories.
The drops have zero grams of total fat, 80 milligrams of sodium (less than one percent of the recommended daily value), four grams of carbs (one percent of the recommended daily value), and zero sugars.
Jelly Drops also contain 28 milligrams of calcium, which is two percent of the recommended daily value, 1.1 milligrams of iron (six percent of the recommended daily value), and 90 milligrams of potassium (two percent of the recommended daily value).
They’re not the healthiest treat because they’re mostly water. Jelly Drops are anything but unhealthy though.
Okay, you’re convinced that Jelly Drops are an easy way for your senior to get independent hydration, but what about the ingredients in Jelly Drops?
Let’s go over them now.
- Sucralose (a type of sugar)
- Trisodium citrate (a food preservative)
- Potassium chloride (prevents low potassium levels)
- Sodium benzoate (keeps food fresh)
- Spirulina extract (a type of sugar)
- Turmeric (a spice)
- Paprika oleoresin (a natural food coloring)
- Black carrot juice (a natural food coloring)
- Natural flavors
- Potassium sorbate (a food preservative)
- Malic acid (a natural alpha hydroxy acid in some fruits)
- Citric acid (a citric food additive)
- Lactic acid (a food preservative)
- Dextrin (a type of sugar)
- Agar-agar (plant-based gelatin)
- Acacia gum (a food thickener)
- Locust bean gum
- Xanthan gum
- Gellan gum
- Maltodextrin (a type of sugar)
There are no particularly concerning ingredients on this list, just a lot of natural products and gelling agents.
You’ll notice an absence of red, blue, and yellow dyes, which is good.
Some of those dyes can have controversial effects on one’s health.
*Jelly drops are available either one package at a time or on a subscription basis.
How Many Jelly Drops A Day?
Although you didn’t think it would happen, your senior parent or loved one is now hooked on Jelly Drops.
How many per day can a person with dementia enjoy?
Well, on the official Jelly Drops website in the prescribed daily intake section, it’s not clear.
One serving is 8 Jelly Drops, so maybe start with that amount.
This water candy is good for at least four weeks from the date they’re shipped. Your senior should prioritize eating the drops within seven days of opening them.
Jelly Drops don’t need to be refrigerated, but they’re a lot more refreshing when they come straight from the fridge.
Keep in mind that refrigerating these water sweets does not extend their shelf life. You also shouldn’t freeze them, says the Jelly Drops website.
Can You Buy Jelly Drops In The US?
Yes, Jelly Drops are now available in the US. You can only order them from the Jelly drops website however (see button below) – they aren’t available on Amazon.
When I ordered my package so I could try them for my review, I was pleased at how quickly they showed up at my door (less than 10 days).
They came well-packed in a cardboard box and were in great shape, despite the summer heat.
I ordered the Snack Pots because there are 5 Jelly Drops in a small package. Since I will only be using them when I am at work, I figured they wouldn’t be as likely to dry out as quickly as the ones in the Original Tray.
They’re perfect for me to take to work and keep on hand for those chaotic days in my dental office.
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