Finding a Day Clock For Your Elderly Loved One: Which Fit is Best For You?
When your elderly loved one suffers from memory loss, dementia, or MCI, it can be difficult to figure out a care giving routine that works for you and your family. As more and more elderly individuals prefer living at home and therefore living alone, it may feel like you need constant supervision for your parent or grandparent. When that isn’t a financial or practical option, it can be stressful and overwhelming. This is why many people have turned to day clocks to help keep their loved ones on track when you can’t be at home with them.
Day clocks have many functions, from simply displaying the day of the week, month, year, and time of day in an easy-to-read way, to offering more interactive features like personalization and activities. This article talks about four main day clock options and discusses their benefits and drawbacks to help families make a decision about which option is best for their loved one.
Option 1: Basic day clock- These offer an inexpensive, practical clock that serve as a visual aid and reminder for anyone with memory loss. The popular Dayclox models offer unabbreviated day, time of day, date, and time in large font on an easy to read digital screen. At around $60 per clock, Dayclox is an inexpensive option that is great as a tool for helping someone keep track of the time and day. However, if you are looking for a device that will offer reminders and personalization options, you may want to consider a more advanced option that will give you and your family more assistance.
· Ease of use
· Low Cost
· No reminders
· Single function
· May not be available in all languages
Option 2: Day Clock with reminders- The Membrabel dayclock is a more advanced version of the basic day clock with some helpful reminders and options. The Membrabel is a large, rotating screen that displays the date, time, time of day, and day of the week, and also notifies the user when it is time to take medicine, drink water, or any other reminder that is programmed into the device. The Memrabel is a great option for hard-of-hearing users because the reminders come with a relatively loud alert sound followed by a voice message (ex: Take Medicine”) and there is also an option to upload personal reminders, so you can be reminded to take your medicine by your smiling grandchildren or spouse. At about $100, the Memrabel is a more expensive but still affordable option that can really assist you in your caretaking duties and boost your loved ones mood multiple times a day.
· Program Reminders
· Audio cues
· High Cost
· Requires someone to be onsite to program reminders
Option 3: “Smart” Day Clocks: Recallcue is a “smart” day clock for people with dementia and MCI that offers Android and iOS apps to offer instant connection to your loved one from remote locations. Recallcue allows you to program customized daily reminders on a large, easy to read day clock. It also allows you to edit and send reminders from outside the home, share family photos and news with your loved one, and set reminders for appointments, birthdays, or other events. As a unique feature, the Recallcue has also developed a tool that allows you to program music playlists so that your loved one has access to their favorite music all day long. Listening to favorite songs is a nostalgia-inducing activity that will promote memory retention and reduce the effects of dementia, so it should be an integrated part of your loved ones daily routine. Given that RecallCue is free , it is the lowest cost option, especially considering the convenient cloud device connection features and instant updates.
· Low cost — Free!
· “Connected” can be updated from anywhere
· Supports mobile apps for both Android and iOS
· Supports many content types like photos, text and music
· Integration with Google Calendar
· Requires your own tablet (this may be an advantage if you have an old android or iPad tablet laying around).
Option 4: ELLI•Q- Elli-Q is the last option on the list and is a robotic companion for your elderly loved one. Elli-Q offers companionship by emulating human interaction and conversing with and offering suggestions to your loved one. Everything is voice activated, which is a bonus for anyone who has restricted mobility. For families who want their day clock device to go beyond one way communication and actually serve as a form of interaction/companionship on its own, the Elli-Q is worth considering. There is currently no pricing available for the Elli-Q, but it will certainly be a more serious investment than any of the above three day clocks.
· Provides many functions beyond a day clock
· Provides a sense of companionship
· Not yet on the market
· Unclear how much it will cost but likely to be expensive
· May be too confusing for people with dementia or MCI.
Hopefully this review has given you a brief overview of the options available to you if you are looking for a device to help with a loved one suffering from dementia. Consider your loved one’s mobility, personal care needs, comfort with technology, and frequency of visitors when deciding on a day clock. And remember, it’s important to keep in mind that nothing replaces sincere human contact with aging loved ones, so look for a device that will help you to facilitate these genuine family interactions in the most convenient and safe way.