Thursday, November 3

7 Best Clocks for Dementia


"What time is it?" and "What day is today?" may be repeated too often by people with dementia. It's disorienting and frustrating for everyone. DEMENTIA CLOCKS offer patience, convenience and good looks. 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 Clocks

Calendar-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.

A healthy balance between simplicity and thoroughness can be found in calendar-clocks like the one to the right. It prominently displays the more important time and day in large letters and numbers, while providing the less important, but relevant, month, day and year in small letters and numbers. It uses no abbreviations and can be set to any of eight languages. The language feature is particularly important in dementia, where a person's childhood mother-tongue language tends to be retained the longest and is easiest to work with.

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 Clocks

There 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.

Talking Clocks

Just say, "Alexa, what time is it?" Amazon's Echo Show will answer in a pleasant voice, to anyone in the room, from almost any distance. The time and date are also displayed on the screen.

We recently gave my dad the gift of Amazon's Echo Show. With the Echo Show, the time is always on display near where he spends most of his day. Whenever he asks me, "What time is it," I say, "Alexa, what time is it?" and the Echo Show tells us in a sweet, ladylike voice. He gets the hang of it quickly enough, and the next time he wants the time, date or weather, he asks Alexa directly.

LED Day Clocks

LED day clocks are great for the visually impaired, with their large, bright displays. LED day clocks offer other conveniences, such as having an alarm clock bed-side. When a person with dementia wakes up in the morning, it is very helpful to have the day on display in addition to the time.

Low-Cost Alternatives: Android Tablets

What 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.

Best Android Clocks

Here is a sampling of the best Android apps for people with dementia.
  1. Dementia / Digital     Diary / Clock
    FREE. A highly configurable clock display with events that are remotely configurable using any shared calendar.
  2. Simple Analog Clock (Good ol' fashioned traditional analog clock face. Free.)
  3. Photo Clock Live Wallpaper (Free. Offers options like a traditional analog clock face or a clock background using your picture.)
  4. Super Clock Wallpaper (Free)
All these apps are free or cost less than $3.

TABLETS: 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:

Apple iPad

Apple iPad users should be able to find these or similar apps. Here are some examples:
~ ~ ~
“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.”
Albert Einstein

2-in-1 Calendar Clock + Day Clock

New to the world of Day Clocks is the 2-in-1 clock. For the early stages of dementia, it functions as a calendar clock, displaying the day, date and time in large type. For the later stages of dementia, the clock can be switched to Dayclock mode, where it will say a more simple message, such as: "Now it's Thursday Afternoon". This orients the person with dementia with the minimum amount of information. Check out the following video to see how it works. Click to Enlarge
Dementia Clock

Comment or Share:

  1. Have all of these clocks been 'tested' with Alzheimer's patients? From my first hand experience with Mother, the words and numbers will eventually become meaningless. Maybe in the early stages they'd be fine but as the disease progresses, they will be dust collectors.

    1. Perhaps you can donate them to other families that their love ones can still understand them.

    2. I agree with you. I'd rather buy my grandma a clock that mainly illustrates the picture of a sun or a moon with numbers and letters secondary to that. Regardless of what stage they are in. I didn't find your comment cold at all!!

  2. From my first hand experience with many of my elderly clients these clocks work wonders!!!!! If and when they eventually become dust collectors is it not worth the relief provided in the interim? I found your comment cold. Every single minute of comfort and reassurance that can be provided is a lifetime to them. And in this case it is an inanimate object doing the work to provide you with some relief from the sometimes endless repetitive questions.
    I do find some of them ridiculously overpriced but found a perfect one at Walmart for $18.00. I suggest you put it next to your other dust collectors.

    1. Thanks for letting me know about Walmart clock. I need several around the house for my mom.

    2. Do you mind saying a little more about your walmart clock - can you give us the model number or brand? If not, is it wall or bedside? Analog or digital? Does it show day too or just time and am/pm?

    3. What is the name of clock at WalMart? The one I ordered from Amazon has done wonders for my husband. It helps him keep track of time when he awakens from a nap. Rather than me arguing with him about morning or evening.

    4. "i found your comment cold?".... please, just what a family member needs, remember these are written words, they dont always express the full meaning of what a person may be trying to express...

    5. I want a larger dementia clock for my grandfather. Is there a good option? Thanks.

  3. The Dynamic Living Calendar Clock is a solid option- we surveyed a bunch of calendar clock users who purchased them for elderly relatives in failing health and the consensus was that it was a pretty effective and inexpensive option. Curiously, we discovered that some people with ADHD also purchased calendar clocks to keep them on schedule- a curious use for these products considering they're primarily used to help individuals with age-related issues like dementia and Alzheimers. Our full writeup is here: http://www.top5reviewed.com/the-5-best-calendar-clocks-for-the-elderly/

    1. My 15 year old with ADD, executive processing challenges, and dyslexia has asked for one of these clocks for Christmas. They are not just for people with dementia.

    2. They are great for physicians coming into health records area to dictate their charts. When they sign in at the door to track Covid tracing of people coming in and out they often ask what day is it today? Also what time is it? Many are just getting off a double shift or have worked overnight and they're just needing an easy way to track their time and date. It is very helpful to busy staff run off their feet too in the hospital, since they do not need to stop and answer anyone with questions while being already stressed out during their shifts.

  4. May I suggest MemClock Android app? I developed for my mother who has Alzheimer's because she could no longer read digital or analog clocks. It provides the time in words, colors and image. It also provides reminder tasks and logs the time when those tasks are "DONE".

  5. My dad's dementia clock is great! Now I need to find a similar thing in a watch. Everything I see has some stupid feature on it to complicate it. Anybody have any recommendations??

  6. I wish these clocks could also be clock-radios.

    1. I do too! I cannot find one. My mother likes listening to radio too.

    2. Ditto, but I still haven't find such product, so I bought a clock and a music player for my mother.Luckily, the music player is easy enough to use for my mom, and it works great.My mom loves it. Seem to be called "iGuerburn simple music player",it is a nice product.

  7. where can i buy one of these clocks in chandler az. in need of one asap

  8. A better alternative for these static clocks in my opinion would be a remotely controlled clock by the relative to set reminders, send messages, sharing pictures and being able making a video call. Dementia has more stadia and the clock should be able to adjust to this process. Take a look at www.bbrain.eu

    1. I agree! I'd love to be able to remotely display a reminder so my mom knows to get ready for random friends' visits, family events on the day they are happening, and the day before. I keep her calendar, so everyone schedules visits, lunch with her, etc through me, but I field dozens of calls a day from asking when an event will be. I've started telling her about them on the morning of an event only (rather than a day or two before), but that creates new issues.

    2. Exactly what I'm looking for too!

  9. My mother suffers from dementia. This clock - we have two helps her. I would like to have a watch with the day of the week and morning, afternoon and night on it as well. Does anyone know of one that is made?

  10. Hello, I made a clock app that can be personalized. The personalization, as it calls out their name along with their son/daughter/relatives, reminds them of the loved ones they are surrounded by (in a passive way) as they check time every time. I'll continue to improve as I see from all your comments. Here is the link to my app. You can install this on any android phone and tablet. It is free. Thanks.


  11. This is really helpful, thank you. Lots of our clients ask about dementia clocks for their parents, but with so much on offer it's hard to know. As a way of sharing info, if anyone here is interested in dementia activities, this article may help: https://www.el-well.com/puzzles-for-dementia/

  12. Can anyone recommend clocks like these as apps or screen savers, compatible for iMac BigSur?
    My optimal clock would have a choice between analog and digital, have languages other than English (Spanish please), and would show the location.

  13. Try me web app http://senior.clock.free.fr.
    I develop it for my mother (alzheimer).
    The web app works on old devices (iPad 1 for my mother).
    Once the web app is launched, network is unnecessary, unless you want weather information refreshed.
    Features: Extra large colored clock display, configurable, full weekday, automatic clock's language , weather, temperature, ...

  14. Try www.recallcue.com they seem to keep updating and adding features and is priced very well.


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