Memory Clocks, also known as Dementia Clocks or Day / Night Clocks can help people with dementia easily identify the day and time of day.
People with dementia struggle with time orientation and often lose track of the time, day, date, season and even the year. As they lose the ability to read a clock to tell the time or a calendar to know the date, they have problems differentiating between morning and afternoon, day or night. Imagine how frustrating and frightening it must be to never really know what time it is or whether you have any appointments due.
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Our experiences with Mum
From quite early on in her illness Mum lost the ability to tell the time or read and understand a calendar and as a result she was forever asking what time / day it was. If she knew she had an appointment due she would become incredibly stressed and anxious and wouldn’t be able to settle even if the appointment wasn’t until later in the week.
Although we weren’t aware of Memory Clocks at the time we did try a number of techniques, listed below, to try and help Mum keep track of the time but none of them were very successful:
- We bought a calendar that was a page per day, but it wasn’t easy to read especially from a distance. In addition Mum quickly lost the concept of month / year so what she really needed to know was the part of the day i.e. morning / afternoon.
- We bought a watch with a really big face and hands. I don’t think we appreciated that the problem wasn’t that she couldn’t see the watch face, more that she no longer understood how to ‘read it’.
- We pulled together a weekly schedule of what appointments she had for the upcoming week but as she didn’t know where she was in the week it wasn’t much help!
So while we weren’t very successful we did try, but I believe that a Memory Clock, especially one with prompts, would have helped Mum enormously, especially to maintain her confidence for much longer.
Memory Clock features
- Clearly displays what day it is.
- Displays either exact time or for the more advanced stages of dementia simply states whether it is morning, afternoon, evening or night.
- No confusing abbreviations of day or month.
- Some clocks available with reminder prompts for example a message to state ‘Time to take your pills’
Benefits of Memory Clocks
- Helps people to keep track of what part (morning, afternoon, evening or night) of the day it is.
- Easier to maintain a routine.
- Prompts for key activities such as pill reminder or lunchtime.
- Eases confusion, anxiety and stress.
- Easier to keep appointments.
- Can help to maintain independence for longer.
- Increases confidence.
- Relieves caregiver stress.