REMEMBERING TIME is difficult in dementia. Innocently, repeatedly, a person with dementia may ask, "What time is it?" or "What day is today?" It's disorienting for people with dementia and difficult for caregivers. Dementia clocks are convenient and have endless patience. Check out these 7 options.
For people with dementia, a calendar-clock is more than a convenience; it is an anchor. In early stages of dementia, it's easy to lose track of time. In the middle stages of Alzheimer's, a loved one may frequently drift into the past.
A well-placed clock-calendar keeps a person with dementia oriented and in the present.
Serious memory loss can result in the repeated asking of, "What time is it?" or "What day is today?". Calendar-clocks always have the answer. They are patient and ever-convenient, no matter how quickly and no matter how often a person forgets.
Calendar ClocksCalendar-clocks prominently display the month, day, date and time. Some also add the year, which can be helpful when a loved one gets lost in the past.
Are calendar-clocks too complicated for a person with dementia? More elaborate calendar-clocks may add weather and other information. Though this provides an extra connection to the outside world, too much information can be more confusing than helpful.
Keep in mind that digital clocks became common in the 1970s. People born before then will sometimes be more comfortable with a traditional "analog" clock, with two hands and 12 numbers.
Day ClocksThere are a variety of "Day Clocks" available which emphasize the day of the week. Some display the day of the week, while others also tell you whether it is morning, afternoon, evening or night, and still more combine the day of the week with the time of day. Here are illustrations of all 3 types:
Whatever you get, keep in mind to check the size of the display. A large-number display is easy to read from a distance. Having the month spelled out in letters instead of numbers can be an important advantage to many people. Bold, high-contrast letters and numbers can make a difference to the eye.
Figure out your needs and where you plan to place the clock. Some clocks run on battery and some need an outlet nearby. Ask yourself if you want to hang it on a wall or stand it on its own. Then choose the right clock and never lose track of time again.
Low-Cost Alternatives: Android TabletsWhat if a caregiver did a one-time set-up of a calendar-clock app on a tablet? They could simply hang it on the wall or stand it on any little table. The person with dementia would not have to do a thing. It is an inexpensive way to get a full-featured personalized calendar-clock for under $50.
There are a wealth of free "clock-apps" in the Google Playstore, along with some rather inexpensive tablet displays. Though many of these apps display digital clocks, some artistic ones have good ol' fashioned "analog" clock displays with 2 arms and 12 numbers in a bold circle.
Analog displays, with a round clock face and an hour & minute hands, are important to many elderly people who grew up with this style of telling time.
The bottom line? One can get a bright, beautiful, helpful calendar-clock for under $40, complete.
Here is a sampling of the best Android apps for people with dementia.
- Big Clock (It has a traditional clock face, but no year.)
- Simple Digital Clock
- Thousand Clock (For advanced users. You can choose from hundreds of designs, modify them, or even make your own with the upgraded version, "Make Your Clock".)
- Super Clock Wallpaper (Free)
- Digi Clock
Apple iPadApple iPad users should be able to find these or similar apps. Click these images for some examples:
All these apps are free or cost less than $3. If you don't have a spare tablet lying around to hang as a wall-clock, there are a wealth of cost-saving tablets to match every size, style and budget. The following are Amazon's best values:
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.”