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Telling the time with Dementia

Memory loss can be hard to cope with and lead to frustration and anxiety.  If you have memory loss you may also have problems with organising, thinking clearly, concentrating, speaking, and reading (language) or seeing things properly.  These symptoms may be due to a diagnosis of dementia.

Early signs of dementia may be difficulty planning or problem solving. This could be planning a holiday or a home improvement and may be an activity that you have managed to do without difficulty beforehand.  Another sign of dementia is difficulty completing a familiar task which may be remembering how to cook a favourite dinner or finding the way home from the shops.

Being able to tell the time is an important skill as it helps us orientate ourselves in our day.  If you glance across to your bedside clock and it is 7.00am you may think it is time to get up and make a cup of tea.  As dementia progresses the ability to tell the time declines and can be lost completely.

An important sign of dementia is losing track of time and place and this can lead to confusion and anxiety. As dementia progresses it may become difficult to read a traditional clock face.  This is because the part of the brain that enables understanding of the positioning of the clock hands is damaged.  If you forget what time of day it is or which month or season it can lead to practical problems like not knowing that it is 2.00am instead of 2.00pm and going out to the shops in the middle of the night. 

A clock with a digital display rather than a traditional clock face can be easier to read and help overcome this problem.

You can also use a clock that states the day and whether it is morning, evening or night which is easier to read. 

A talking clock with verbal reminders can also be helpful if you have problems seeing the clock face and you may feel reassured by the spoken voice.

Memory is very complex, and you use different types of memory when you do different activities.

Different types of memory are working memory, episodic memory, semantic memory, procedural memory, and prospective memory.

You use prospective memory when you remember an appointment or to take your medication at a certain time. If you have difficulties with remembering a date or an event that is due to happen in the future and you forget to do something at a particular time you may have a problem with your prospective memory.

A reminder clock can be used which will remind you to carry out your tasks throughout the day.

A common memory problem is misplacing items like keys or glasses around the house. Having a consistent place for keys like a bowl somewhere obvious can be helpful.

You may find a key finder helpful.

There are a range of electronic devices that can be used to help with memory problems. Some will be easy to use but others may need the support of family and friends to choose the ones that are most suitable for you. 

Some of our products you can see below;

Ravencourt quartz clock

A quartz clock with a clear display.

Clear colour contrast of numbers against a white background

Features a Day/night picture

This product would help a person with dementia that has difficulty distinguishing night and day.

The clock prompts them and for example they can see that it is 4.00am rather than 4.00pm. During the winter months when it is dark early this clock will also indicate whether it is night or day.

This clock would be good to use in a person’s own home or in their room in a care setting.

It would also be helpful in a hospital or respite care setting as it has a clear, easily read clock face that all people would find helpful.

The picture of day and night would work well for an older person or for children.


Reminder Clock

The Reminder Clock is a mains powered digital clock with a choice of four different clock displays and twenty helpful reminders that can be set to aid daily routine.

People living with dementia can find difficulty knowing whether it is day or night or morning or afternoon.

The clock has 4 easy to understand displays to chose from

The reminder clock simplifies the time and adds the time of day, for example “It’s now Tuesday afternoon”.

The reminder clock has a choice of 20 reminders to help prompt the user to carry out daily tasks that they may forget like eating and drinking and attending medical appointments.

A reminder is an image or text that appears on the screen with a voice prompt.

You can have reminders for day to day activities like taking medication, having a drink and making lunch or an event like a visit from your family or a medical appointment.

You can upload your own reminders by USB memory stick


Key finder

Key finder helps you to find lost keys, remotes, purse, walking stick and other easily lost items quickly.

The key finder is placed on a base support which keeps it tidy and it can be removed from the base and carried with you to find lost items

People who are living with dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease lose items such as keys. This is often one of the early symptoms of the disease. Losing keys and other essential items is frustrating and can also be a safety hazard if the person is unable to easily open or lock their door.

This product is also useful for people who have visual problems. Items such as keys are small and difficult to find.  This product offers a simple and effective solution to finding misplaced items.

The product is supplied with its own battery.

 It may be necessary for a carer to assist with sliding the back panel of the base support down and fit the battery. 

This is a simple action but may difficult for a person with poor vision or perceptual problems.