Hydration Balls for Dementia and Elderly Patients - RespectCareGivers (2022)

Aging is often synonymous with a lot of conditions, challenging both the physical and mental range of capacity of an individual. Though uniform, yet these changes manifest very differently in each person.

Functional failures such as lapses in memory are more pronounced in the elderly than in the young. This is normal as one ages. However, conditions such as dementia are not and are categorized as a disease rather than a normal aging phenomenon.

Hydration Balls for Dementia and Elderly Patients - RespectCareGivers (1)


What Is Dementia?

Dementia is the term given to the collective symptoms which manifest as a loss of cognitive functions i.e. remembering, thinking, reasoning, and other behaviors of a person, to the extent that they interfere with his day-to-day activities.

The nerve cells or neurons are constantly aging in each person. However, this process is accelerated with aging. These cells age, lose their synapsis (connections) with other brain cells and die.

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As a result, the person may experience problems in memory, visual functions such as reading, communication issues of language, problem analyzing and solving, performing calculations, ability to learn, ability to focus on tasks, dexterity to perform tasks, and to be attentive in general.

Over a considerable time, the patient may end up having personality changes too. His day-to-day activities may start to depend on others.

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As per WHO (World Health Organization), there are 50 million dementia patients worldwide and around 10 million new cases come up every year. Dementia not only has a psychological impact on a person, but it also affects them physically, socially, and economically.

Dementia can be challenging for the affected person as well as their family members and care providers. The lack of information about the condition often makes it a stigmatizing situation for all. To know more on dementia, read best books on dementia

Hydration Balls for Dementia and Elderly Patients - RespectCareGivers (2)


Dementia sets in slowly. It often starts with forgetting people’s names and faces, places, losing track of time, etc

Middle stage

The conditions of the early stage become more pronounced. The patients have issues communicating and may start to need assistance for some of their daily activities. They may repeatedly start to ask questions, may wander often, and go missing. A door lock or door alarm could help family members to ease their minds.

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By this stage, the patients become dependent and are unable to perform any activities. They become immobile and lose all sense of time, direction, and recollection of persons and events. They may also end up becoming aggressive over time.

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What Are Hydration Balls?

The hydration balls are small edible jelly balls that are filled with water and can be given to people who forget to consume water regularly, like patients of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and the elderly, to keep them hydrated.

To know more about why they are needed, here is a real-life story that is pertinent to share.

Way back in 2019, when Lewis Hornby, from London, saw that his grandmother, a dementia patient was not taking enough water and even suffered dehydration, he knew he would have to find a way out.

Elderly patients and especially the ones suffering from dementia, often forget to drink water. The hippocampus or the part of the brain associated with memory undergoes degeneration with age.

Also with decreased blood flow to the brain and decreased hormones and proteins that repair the brain cells, there is associated memory loss. This may lead to dehydration. The blood pressure drops.

They may witness muscle cramps, dry skin, dry mouth, and eventually confusion and dizziness. In severe cases, they may have to be admitted to a hospital and administered IV (intravenous) fluids and other rehydration treatments.

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Hence, they always have to be reminded to consume water or the healthcare-givers have to find ways to introduce water to them through their diet and beverages.

Lewis came up with a brilliant idea to tackle this problem! After consultation with physicians, language and speech therapists, and other 18 months’ worth of research he invented bite-sized hydration balls for the patients who often forget to drink water throughout the day.

He tested several prototypes at nursing homes. These hydration balls are essentially 90% water and 10% jelly and electrolytes. These edible water jelly drops are small, colorful, with a candy-like taste making it easier for the patient to spot them.

It becomes more like giving them a treat than making them have water directly. Around 6-7 of these jelly balls can contain as much as a cup of water.

Their packaging consists of a box with a transparent plastic lid to easily locate the box and also so that they look less like a medicine box and more like a candy box. The handle and hinged lid also assist in easy handling of the box for motor-function challenged patients.

Hydration balls were first introduced publicly in June 2019 in the UK and 2020 in the US. Since then, they have been in huge demand. T

hey can be ordered online from the site as a single order or in the form of a subscription. You can check out https://www.jellydrops.com/ to know more.

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Why Do Dementia Patients Need Hydration Balls?

  • The main reason is plain forgetfulness. They simply do not remember to drink water, sometimes even when they are thirsty. They may also not be able to associate the act of drinking water with quenching thirst.
  • They lose the sense of location and direction hence they forget where to find water when they want to drink it.
  • Many may not like its taste and will become stubborn and just refuse to consume it.
  • Some have difficulty drinking and eating and are unable to drink and swallow with ease, thus making them drink water becomes a herculean task.
  • In the late stages, the patient becomes dependent on the caregiver to make them drink water and eat food.
  • Many medicines and conditions make dehydration worse in such patients.

Pattinson’s jelly drops (by the founder Lewis Hornby) boast 95% of water content and are sugar-free. They are available in 6 flavors to suit the palate of all and are brightly colored to attract attention. They are hard but still very easy to chew on.

The special tear-drop shape helps to pick them up easily from the box. They require no special container and can be consumed directly from this box. They are not sticky when holding them.

The box has a special handle on one side to open the box easily without lifting it. The hinge design of the lid helps it to stay open while eating. This is required because more than often, dementia patients fail to perform a series of actions when they are complicated.

Their shape and color make them highly inviting for somebody to consume as they have been made to resemble candies.

Hornby accounts that his grandmother ate 7 of these jelly drops in 10 minutes when they were offered to her for the first time.

Lewis has won nearly 15 awards for his product for innovation, design, and its social impact. Also, 1% of the sales per box are donated to the Alzheimer’s Society in the United Kingdom.

Hydration Balls for Dementia and Elderly Patients - RespectCareGivers (3)

Other Ways To Increase Water Intake

  • Choose from other fluid sources – At one time the 8 by 8 rule of drinking water was followed i.e. 8 ounces of water, 8 times a day. But drinking water is not the only way of hydrating. There are other alternatives available for those who do not want to drink just water for hydration. Fruits such as watermelons and vegetables such as cucumber contain a lot of water content. All fruits and most vegetables can provide a lot of water. Other options are soups, juices, and various sweetened/unsweetened beverages.
  • Try several beverages, at different temperatures. While some individuals may prefer hot soups, some may like drinking iced herbal teas.
  • Give lemon water to the dementia patient. Not only is it refreshing, but it also provides vitamin C that boosts immunity. It can be made sweet or savory or both as per one’s preference.
  • Offer coconut water, which is very high in potassium and very low in calories. Hence, it remains a very good option in place of plain water.
  • Keep beverages within reach. Keep water or other beverages of their choice close by. More than often the elderly and those with dementia forget to have water because it simply is not in their plain sight. A jar filled with water kept on their bedside will solve this problem. Use clear glasses so that the patient can see what is inside. Bright attractive cups can also be used to attract attention.
  • Ensure a change of taste, that may encourage them to have more fluids. Some people do not like sweetened drinks and prefer soups or other savory things instead. The same can be provided to them. Care should be taken about the sodium content though e.g. in patients with high blood pressure. Sodium holds back water in the body and further increases blood pressure in patients.
  • Offer popsicles that can also be made easily. The person’s favorite fruit juice can be frozen along with water and can be given as a fun alternative to regular water or plain juice.
  • Leave reminders around the house or close to them. Notes can be used or alarms can be set. This can also be done for the caregivers so that they remember to give the patient water or other beverages from time to time.

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Dementia patients and even the elderly sometimes forget to drink water or simply do not realize they are thirsty. Even when they do, they may not be able to comprehend the action of drinking water to quench thirst. Consequently, they may suffer severe dehydration. They may not realize this in time or symptoms may be noticed very late by the caregiver.

This ‘chewable water’ is a very intelligent idea that works efficiently for dementia and elderly patients. It is a great way to enforce hydration by making the mundane task of drinking adequate water a fun activity for them.


What helps dementia patients stay hydrated? ›

Encourage the person to drink throughout the day. The recommended amount is one and a half to two litres a day, which is around eight to 10 glasses or 10 to 13 cups per day. Have a drink on hand whenever the person is eating something.

How do dementia patients prevent dehydration? ›

Preventing dehydration in elderly with dementia is possible using the following tips:
  1. Keep water close. ...
  2. Set hydration reminders. ...
  3. Invest in adapted drinking aids. ...
  4. Stay hydrated with tasty, nutritious snacks. ...
  5. Use mirroring to encourage hydration. ...
  6. Make drinking breaks part of routine activities. ...
  7. Stay comfortable and cool.
22 Feb 2021

Does hydration help dementia? ›

Additional studies indicate that dehydration can accelerate cognitive decline in people with dementia [7]. Decreased water levels in cells can cause proteins to misfold and prevent the clearance of these toxic proteins, causing them to build up in the brain.

How would you promote adequate nutrition and hydration who has dementia? ›

serving one course at a time. using finger foods such as sandwiches, slices of fruit or vegetables and cheese. giving gentle verbal encouragement, for example, “oh this smells lovely” using gentle physical prompts, for example, place your hand over the person's hand to guide their food or drink to their mouth.

Why do people with dementia not drink? ›

As dementia progresses it affects the area of the brain that controls swallowing. In advanced dementia the person may have a weak swallow or lose the ability to swallow safely. For example, they may cough or choke after swallowing food or drinks.

What drinks are good for dementia? ›

Although there is no cure or treatment for progressive dementia, like Alzheimer's disease, science has unveiled the best drinks to ward off the neurodegenerative disease.
  • Coffee. Similar to its rival tea, drinking coffee could reduce the likelihood of experiencing cognitive impairment. ...
  • Beer. ...
  • Champagne.
7 Apr 2017

How do you get a dementia patient to drink more water? ›

Enhance water: You can also use fruits and vegetables to make water more appealing to an adult with dementia. Lemon slices, cucumber, mint sprigs, strawberries, and blueberries can all enhance both the taste and visual appeal of a glass of water.

What are the last stages of dementia before death? ›

Signs of the final stages of dementia include some of the following: Being unable to move around on one's own. Being unable to speak or make oneself understood. Eating problems such as difficulty swallowing.

How much water should an 80 year old drink? ›

Experts generally recommend that older adults consume at least 1.7 liters of fluid per 24 hours. This corresponds to 57.5 fluid ounces, or 7.1 cups.

Is ice cream good for dementia? ›

Ice cream brings people with dementia to happier, warmer times when the treat was shared with friends and loved ones at special, joyous occa- sions. Ice cream has the power to immediately elicit soothing feelings at the very first taste of a single spoon-full.

How long does final stage of dementia last? ›

However, end-stage dementia may last from one to three years. As the disease advances, your loved one's abilities become severely limited and their needs increase. Typically, they: have trouble eating and swallowing.

Can people with dementia not see water? ›

They Cannot See It

This skewed sense of perception also impacts how your loved one views water. Since water is clear, it can look invisible to seniors with dementia, which may make it unappealing to drink.

What are good finger foods for dementia patients? ›

Finger Foods Can Be A Game-Changer for Alzheimer's Patients
  • French toast cut into bite-size squares.
  • Silver dollar pancakes with jam.
  • Waffle with cream cheese and jam.
  • Graham crackers.
  • Cheese cubes.
  • Cooked carrot coins and vegetable strips slightly steamed to soften texture.
  • Small meatballs, sliced turkey, or meatloaf pieces.

How do you get someone with dementia to eat and drink? ›

Give the person gentle reminders to eat, and remind them what the food is. Don't assume the person has finished because they've stopped eating. If the person is agitated or distressed, don't put pressure on them. Wait until they are calm and less anxious before offering food and drink.

What is the most common cause of death in dementia patients? ›

One of the most common causes of death for people with dementia is pneumonia caused by an infection. A person in the later stages of dementia may have symptoms that suggest that they are close to death, but can sometimes live with these symptoms for many months.

What foods should dementia patients avoid? ›

But it's just as important to stay away from certain foods, such as the ones mentioned below, when caring for a loved one with dementia.
  • Margarine. ...
  • Fried Foods. ...
  • Soda & Other Sugary Beverages. ...
  • Processed Meats. ...
  • Foods Containing MSG.
14 Feb 2020

What causes dementia patients to suddenly get worse? ›

other long-term health problems – dementia tends to progress more quickly if the person is living with other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly if these are not well-managed.

What should you not do with dementia? ›

I'm going to discuss five of the most basic ones here: 1) Don't tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don't argue with them, 3) Don't ask if they remember something, 4) Don't remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead, and 5) Don't bring up topics that may upset them.

What helps dementia naturally? ›

Natural health products
  • Ginkgo biloba. This plant extract, rich in antioxidants, is said to treat dementia symptoms through its anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Melatonin. Melatonin supplements are used to improve sleep, and may, theoretically, prevent the progression of dementia.
  • Omega-3 fatty acid.

Should dementia patients watch TV? ›

For men and women with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia, it can be especially beneficial. Watching movies and TV shows can help keep their brain active, which can stimulate positive memories, improve mood, and even increase socialization.

How do I get my elderly parent to drink water? ›

6 ways to get seniors to drink more water
  1. Remember that there are many sources of fluids. People don't have to drink only plain water to get hydrated. ...
  2. Keep water close by at all times. ...
  3. Experiment with beverages at different temperatures. ...
  4. Try something savory. ...
  5. Make popsicles. ...
  6. Offer smoothies, milkshakes, Ensure, sports drinks.

Why do the elderly not drink enough water? ›

Reduced sense of thirst

The natural aging process weakens the body's ability to signal it does not have enough fluid. This means older adults don't feel as thirsty as younger people do, and they may not realize they need to drink water.

What drink is good for Alzheimer's? ›

Souvenaid is a medical drink containing an active ingredient called Fortasyn Connect. This is a combination of fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients. It was developed with the aim of preventing the loss of important connections between brain cells that occurs in Alzheimer's disease.

How can elderly increase fluid intake? ›

Choose foods with high water content.

If you have trouble drinking fluids, try including water-rich foods with every meal. These include cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes and celery. Soups, broths and stews are also a good way to boost your fluid intake, especially in the colder weather.

What is the best electrolyte drink for seniors? ›

Pedialyte truly is the most reliable and better option for the elderly as well as sick kids, younger people, and people of all ages. It has less sugar, which is important for older folks, and it has more electrolytes than Gatorade products.

How much water should an 86 year old drink? ›

How to prevent dehydration in older adults? Experts generally recommend that older adults consume at least 1.7 liters of fluid per 24 hours. This corresponds to 57.5 fluid ounces, or 7.1 cups.

Is Gatorade Good for dehydration in elderly? ›

One study determined that Gatorade was as effective as Pedialyte at treating dehydration among 75 adults with a viral digestive infection ( 8 ). However, Pedialyte might be a better choice in cases of diarrhea due to its lower carb content.

How many glasses of water should an elderly person drink a day? ›

You should aim for 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day. Here are some simple tips for making sure you reach your goal and get enough water. Sip on drinks throughout the day. Get a reusable water bottle with a straw and fill it with plain water.

How do you know if your dehydrated with dementia? ›

Signs and symptoms of dehydration

Increased confusion and/or a change in usual behavior are the first signs that someone with dementia may be dehydrated. Additional behavior changes associated with inadequate fluid intake include weakness, fatigue, agitation, muscle cramping in the arms and legs, nausea and dizziness.

Can dehydration cause death in elderly? ›

A common and serious condition in older adults, dehydration can cause severe problems and even result in death if left unchecked. For seniors, dehydration can cause several major health problems, according to Daily Caring, such as: Kidney stones. Blood clots.

What is the one food that fights dementia? ›

Leafy Green Vegetables. What is the number one food that fights dementia? Green leafy vegetables are probably the number one food that fights dementia. They have a strong, positive effect on cognitive health.

What should you not do with dementia? ›

I'm going to discuss five of the most basic ones here: 1) Don't tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don't argue with them, 3) Don't ask if they remember something, 4) Don't remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead, and 5) Don't bring up topics that may upset them.

What can make dementia worse? ›

other long-term health problems – dementia tends to progress more quickly if the person is living with other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, particularly if these are not well-managed.

What drinks are good for the elderly? ›

5 Best Drinks for Dehydration in Elderly Moms and Dads
  • Water. If you're aiming for hydration, nothing beats good, old-fashioned water. ...
  • Smoothies. Nothing says nutrition and hydration quite like a smoothie. ...
  • Milk. ...
  • Green Tea. ...
  • Juice.
27 Apr 2022

What drink has the highest electrolytes? ›

6 Best Electrolyte Drinks
  • Gatorade & Powerade. Sports drinks like Gatorade and Powerade are electrolyte-rich powerhouses. ...
  • Milk. Cow's milk is a bit of an underappreciated superstar when it comes to electrolyte drinks. ...
  • Fruit Juices. Fruit Juices are rich in electrolytes. ...
  • Coconut Water. ...
  • Smoothies. ...
  • Tablet-Infused Water.
30 Jul 2022

What drinks replenish electrolytes? ›

Here are 8 electrolyte-rich beverages you may want to add to your health and wellness tool kit.
  • Coconut water. Coconut water, or coconut juice, is the clear liquid found inside of a coconut. ...
  • Milk. ...
  • Watermelon water (and other fruit juices) ...
  • Smoothies. ...
  • Electrolyte-infused waters. ...
  • Electrolyte tablets. ...
  • Sports drinks. ...
  • Pedialyte.
30 Oct 2019


1. Paint Bucket Dementia Activity
(Caregiving 101)
2. Proper Patient Care - Communication Techniques
3. The Threatening and Violent Dementia Patient
4. As a Caregiver, Do You Respect YOUR OWN Trauma?
(Hope for the Caregiver)
5. Professional Insights Ep# 21 - Verbal & Physical Abuse - James Moorehead
(Dementia Action Alliance)
6. Miranda Waddell: Approaches to Individualized Dementia Patient/Caregiver Relationship
(Pennington Biomedical Research Center)

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