With temperatures rising yet again above 30 degrees in parts of the UK this week so has the need to check on and keep people living with dementia hydrated.
Last month saw temperatures in the UK reach record-breaking levels. At the same time, an innovator supported by Alzheimer’s Society, saw sales and interest in his inventive hydration product ‘Jelly Drops’ soar.
The bite-sized, sugar-free sweets contain 95 per cent water are designed to increase fluid intake.
During July, the number of people trying Jelly Drops for the first time trebled compared to the start of the year. Over 20,000 packs were produced last month for individuals, care homes and healthcare organisations across the UK.
The search for ways to keep people with dementia hydrated during the heatwave, also saw the number of visitors to Alzheimer’s Society’s online shop and Jelly Drops page almost double from the previous month, with 415 people heading directly to its Jelly Drops page in July compared to 289 visits in June.
With temperatures again triggering extreme heat weather warnings across the UK, Alzheimer’s Society is highlighting the importance of making sure people with dementia are well hydrated and share ways families and carers can help by; leaving glasses or jugs of water within easy reach, sharing a drink with the person, leaving reminders to drink and providing high water content foods.
Cheryl James – Alzheimer’s Society West Midlands Area Manager said: “Of course, people should enjoy the nice weather, but high temperatures can lead to severe health problems for people with dementia unless they take special precautions to keep cool and well-hydrated.
“People with dementia may forget to drink enough fluids and wear suitable clothing. As the temperatures rise this week, we are urging families and carers to check in on people with dementia to make sure they are staying hydrated, wearing light clothes and keeping out of direct sun.
“Popping round to check on a neighbour, friend or family member with dementia can help protect them and keep them safe during the hot weather.” Last month saw the highest number of sales for Jelly Drops, since they were introduced to the public by innovator Lewis Hornby in 2020.
Inspired by his grandmother’s dementia, Lewis said: "Dehydration is a serious and often overlooked problem for people with dementia and the risk massively increases during the hot summer months.
“Like many, I was unaware of how severe dehydration can be and was determined to find an easy way to provide additional fluid intake, while replenishing essential electrolytes. I urge everyone to take a moment this summer to consider whether a friend or family member is at risk of dehydration and make a plan for how you can help prevent it."
As well as the importance of keeping the person with dementia hydrated, Alzheimer’s Society provides other top tips to help people with dementia stay safe when the temperature soars, including:
· Making sure the person is dressed appropriately - Light-coloured, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fibres can help keep people comfortable and prevent overheating. A hat or cap for outside is also a good idea.
· Keeping the house as cool as possible - Keeping the curtains or blinds closed during the day – especially in sunny, south-facing rooms – can help to keep things cool. In the evening, open the windows to let the warm air out and colder air in.
· Avoiding the midday sun – We’re advised to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm. If you’re out and about, seek out plenty of shade. Wear a hat and keep a bottle of high factor sunscreen on you, and make sure it’s reapplied regularly.
· Finding ways to cool off - Try putting a frozen bottle of water or ice pack next to a fan, for some DIY air-conditioning. Or place a washcloth and some iced water nearby.
· Asking friends and neighbours to pop in and check the person is ok - If you don’t live near the person or are worried about someone – ask a friend or neighbour to pop in and make sure they're ok
Jelly Drops are available to purchase through Alzheimer’s Society’s online shop. For more information visit: alzheimers.org.uk/shop