When Mom lived alone before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she would call me first thing every morning to ask what day it was. Not only once a day but often, multiple times in a single day. As I look back now, I can’t believe that I was upset because she couldn’t remember to take her medication every day. In hindsight, if she couldn’t remember what day it was, how could she possibly remember whether she’d taken a pill or not.
As some of you have had this same issue with your loved one, I’ve had many requests and searches for digital calendars. I have listed digital watches and clocks. Below are a few of those posts and articles.
This one is really nice because it has the large letters with Day and Date. An alzheimer’s or Dementia patient would not be able to tell time from this clock. They do need a digital clock. So although it is wonderfully set up as a calendar, it would not work as a clock.
A wall clock with an easy to see automatic calendar which shows the month, date and day. The quartz clock requires one AA battery and the calendar uses 2 C batteries, Not Included. Measures 9.62 x 19.75 x 4.25 Inch.
There is a commercially available Day Clock, and this displays a message - "Now it's Monday Morning", rather than the actual time. Each day is divided into periods, rather than times - Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Night. The clock is however quite expensive, and is in fact based on a relatively inexpensive Digital Photo Frame.
It is possible to create such a clock using many of the commercially available, and cheaper, Digital Photo Frames. As long as the frame allows an image to be changed every hour on the hour, all that is needed is 168 images, one for each hour of the week.
Once set up, the frame can then be used as a Day Clock, as shown in the image. This particular photo frame is a Motorola MLC800. The images are stored on an SD card, and once inserted, the slide show begins. All that needs to be done is to advance the slide show to the image appropriate for the hour and day, after that the frame advances on the hour. It also has its own clock and calendar, which can be turned off if required.
Each image file is named so that the correct sequence is followed (ensure that the frame is NOT set to randomly display images).
For this particular set up, each period has been divided as follows: Morning 6am to 12 noon (6 identical images - for each day) Afternoon 12 noon to 6pm (6 identical images - for each day) Evening 6pm to 10pm (4 identical images - for each day) Night 10pm to 6am (8 identical images - for each day)
The day does not change until the Morning period starts, so, for example, Monday Night changes to Tuesday Morning at 6am on Tuesday. This is to avoid any confusion that may be caused by changing say Monday Night into Tuesday Night at midnight. If someone was to wake up at 2am after going to sleep on Monday Night, and the display tells them it is now Tuesday Night, they may think they have been asleep for over 24 hours.
There are four different background images, one for each period. Each image has been selected to represent that particular period.
If after time, the dementia sufferer is no longer able to read the words, they may still be able to see the image, and may still be able to perceive the period of the day, by using the image alone.
I am currently using the frame illustrated for my Mother, who has vascular dementia. So far, it seems to be helping.