Student Invents "Chewable Water" To Help People With Dementia Stay Hydrated

What a warm-and-fuzzy week it is to be reading The Takeout: Yesterday, we brought you the charming story of how paramedics helped a dying man enjoy a final caramel sundae, and today we bring you yet another feel-good read about food and the elderly. (Thanks for reading; please hug your grandmas.)

This story begins when British college student Lewis Hornby's grandmother, Pat, was taken to the hospital suffering from dehydration. She found drinking water difficult and unappealing, and Hornby wondered if there wasn't a way to make liquids more palatable and interesting to patients with dementia.

As Mother Nature Network reports, it's fortunate Hornsby was a design student at the time, because he was able to apply that knowledge to the task of creating "hydrating finger food." He collaborated with doctors and even residents at his grandmother's senior-care facility to develop water capsules that were both hydrating and easy for the elderly to consume.

The result is Jelly Drops, a box of brightly colored, teardrop-shaped "hydrating snacks." According to Hornby, "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." He reports that when he first offered the drops to his grandma, she ate seven in 10 minutes, the equivalent of a full cup of water.

Jelly Drops have since won numerous design awards, and Hornby says he hopes to scale up production as soon as possible. In the meantime, he's continuing to test the drops at senior-care facilities. He's also set up a funding page where people can donate to help him cover the start-up costs associated with manufacturing these on a larger scale. We salute you, Lewis, and hope your grandma is proud of you.