Dementia is a difficult diagnosis to live with, whether it be in yourself or someone you care about. There are many unknowns, inconveniences, and challenges that come with this disease. Living in today’s fast-paced society means there’s no slowing down for people affected by dementia. But fortunately, some modern tools and technologies can relieve the difficulties.
Some products, like dementia clocks, can bring simple solutions to daily life. Here is all you need to know about dementia, memory, and the best dementia clocks to help you through the main stages of dementia.
Before getting into the best types of dementia clocks on the market, we need to clarify what dementia is and how it affects people.
Dementia is a memory loss and brain degenerative disease that affects over 50 million people worldwide, according to World Health Organization updates. In the United States alone, there are about 5 million people alive today with some type of dementia diagnosis. Every year, these numbers increase significantly.
Most of all, dementia affects how a person uses cognition, how they behave, their ability to remembers things, and what their body is physically capable of. Even though there are many kinds of dementia, the overall characteristic is memory loss and progressive brain damage.
There are three primary stages of dementia: Early, Middle, and Late.
1. Early-stage dementia is often mild. The person can still function, although they might be forgetful, confused, and have trouble recalling facts or timelines. Moodiness, irritability, and fatigue are also associated with this first stage.
2. Middle-stage dementia is when the person starts to show signs of serious decline. They might become a slightly different person, seemingly behaving in strange, new ways than usual. Their memory worsens and they need help functioning mental tasks. Their speech might begin to dwindle, too.
3. Late-stage dementia is when someone finally requires ongoing, around-the-clock supervision and medical care. They likely have difficulty holding their bowels, controlling their emotions, and swallowing food or water. This stage is when they are getting closer to death. They often forget who close friends and family members are, or even forget their names and identity.
The symptoms of dementia depend on what type of dementia a person has, how long they’ve had it, and any preexisting health factors they might have. Generally speaking, there are some key red flags and warning signs of dementia. These signs include:
The main types of dementia that affect the global and national population include a list of about 5 different kinds. Here are the most common types, and a brief description of each.
Alzheimer’s disease: The most common type of dementia in the world. Alzheimer’s greatly impacts memory, cognition, and emotion. This type of dementia is what most of us think about when we hear the term “dementia”. People forget things, easily become lost, lose track of time, and eventually can’t recognize their loved ones.
Vascular dementia: This has to do with brain damage associated with blood and oxygen getting cut off from the brain. It’s usually a result of someone who had a history of strokes or serious injuries to the brain. It can rapidly cause a decline in a person’s memory, ability to process information and regulate their emotions.
Mixed dementia: Mixed dementia is when there are active signs of more than one type of dementia present at once. It’s a general diagnosis where someone has dementia, but they show signs of more than one type.
Lewy bodies dementia: When a type of protein in the brain (called “Lewy bodies”) builds up in excess, it can cause impairment to movement and emotion. Dementia with Lewy bodies, sometimes called LBD or Parkinson’s dementia, is a form of dementia that causes tremors, shakes, bizarre behavioral changes, and associated physical health problems.
Frontotemporal dementia: One of the rare types of dementia, this can occur in younger middle-aged people as early as in their 30s or 40s. It affects behavior and emotion most, but also shows memory decline.
All the signs and symptoms of dementia can seem overwhelming. But don’t let that make you feel hopeless about this disease. Even though it is a leading cause of death, there are plenty of ways to make the years after diagnosis comfortable, convenient, and safe.
People use dementia clocks when they or their family member is starting to forget things during daily life. They might forget what day it is, when their appointments are, or whether or not they’ve already taken their medication at the right time.
Dementia clocks are digital or analog tools that help dementia patients remember simple dates and tasks that might slip their memory. Some of them are fully customizable to assist with reminders and urgent priorities.
Dementia clocks can help individuals with dementia as well as their families. They can provide extra communication and reassurance when it comes to scheduling, important habits, and medical care needs.
These types of clocks work to the extent that someone ensures they are going to be a helpful tool to their loved one’s life. There needs to be someone to teach the patient how the clock works, what it will help them with, and remind them when any issues come up.
Here are the popular types of clocks for people with Alzheimer’s:
The day clock focuses on the time of day and the day of the week. They’re usually bold-lettered and indicate what time of the day it is (day or night), along with the date and day of the week. Some of them have the month as well, although these are usually seen on calendar clocks.
Digital Calendar Clocks
Calendar clocks are designs specifically for dementia patients with trouble remember the time of year or season they are currently in, as well as the date. They display the month, day of the week, current date, and exact time. This way, the patient with dementia can look at the clock and be informed about what is going on. Since many dementia patients with early or middle-stage dementia get wrapped up in memories, it’s a good reminder for them.
Talking clocks inform patients of the time with a chime or verbal notification. Today there are digital tools like Amazon’s “Alexa” and “Echo”, where a person can ask what time it is or for current updates on today’s news.
Digital Alarm Clocks
Some alarm clocks are specifically designed for Alzheimer’s patients. Regular alarm clocks can be confusing with all their small buttons and hard-to-read displays. With digital dementia alarm clocks, the buttons are larger and labeled. This makes it easier to navigate and set specific times.
Clocks with Medication Reminders
More modern dementia clocks can be programmed to remind a person of their medication schedule. It’ll display or voice a term like, “9:00 AM, time to take your medication.” This is extremely useful for dementia patients, as mixing up meds can be harmful! Medication reminders can make a world of a difference.
Here are some of the top-rated and medically respected clocks for people with dementia, along with some of the pros and cons of each.
This all-in-one clock offers everything mentioned above. You can set reminders to take medication, change the display from digital clock to analog view, customize the high-resolution brightness settings, and set the alarm options. Its adapter is easily plugged in so there’s no need to change batteries. It’s a great tabletop clock to put in any room.
This day clock displays and tells you the time of day, as well as the week and date. It also has reminders with alarms to take medications, upcoming appointments, and more. Brightness settings are adjustable with auto dimming and other display options. Set your favorite dates and milestones to the calendar so you can remember celebrations and social events.
There are several watches on the market that contain GPS tracking options. This is a great choice for anyone concerned about getting lost, wandering off, or forgetting their location when they are dealing with dementia. It connects to a GPS smartphone app so you can locate your loved one if they become lost. There is also an option to set up voice calls so you can talk directly through the watch. It makes a great gift for someone who needs it.
A digital calendar clock can help people with dementia keep track of their lives. This calendar clock reads the clear time of day: Morning, afternoon, evening, night, and before dawn. This helps the person keep track of the time of day, even if they start forgetting how to perceive time. Because people with dementia can experience sleep issues, it’s also helpful for waking up at abnormal hours and getting familiar with what date and time of day they’re in.
For those who prefer a simple, analog wall clock, there is a day and night dementia clock. This is a minimal clock with numbers and analog time tracking, like a regular, old-fashioned living room clock we all know and love. There is a picture that cycles as time ticks by, shifting from “night, morning, day, and afternoon”. This way, a person with memory loss can easily know whether it’s AM or PM when they look at the clock.
If someone keeps losing track of time, they should get a dementia clock. Depending on the severity of their dementia, these types of clocks can save a lot of time, worry, and confusion in their daily life.
People with early or middle-stage dementia, with mild dementia symptoms, benefit most from dementia clocks. They still have the awareness of time and can do simple tasks on their own or with the help of a caregiver.
Mainly, dementia clocks help a patient be reminded of the date and time of day. When their memory is declining, they can start frequently asking loved ones, friends, and caregivers, “What time is it?” and “What is today’s date?” Which they can soon forget again. This becomes repetitive and annoying, so sometimes it’s better to just have a dementia clock for both the patient and the caregivers’ peace of mind.
If someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia, you can opt to get a caregiver or nursing home at any time. The early stages are milder and allow the person to still carry out basic functions on their own.
However, in middle-stage dementia, things can get dangerous. The person might get lost, forget their personal belongings, or become suddenly aggressive with behavioral changes. In late-stage dementia, full-time care is often required, as the individual loses the ability to control their bowels, movements, and eating and drinking.
The sooner you seek help for someone with dementia, the better and more comfortable they can be during the nearing end of their life.
Aside from getting a dementia clock, finding medical support, researching the best nursing homes, or hiring at-home caregivers for your loved one, there are other ways to support people with dementia.
Monitor and Manage Symptoms
Pay attention to the individual’s progression of symptoms. Every person with dementia goes through the process at varying rates. Some people have a life expectancy of only a few years, whereas others live on for decades after diagnosis. The more you monitor and find support for their current symptoms, the safe they’ll be.
Get a Caregiver
Getting a caregiver for someone with dementia can relieve the patient’s and family’s stress. Caregivers are professionals who care for those in need. They assist physically, emotionally, and medically. They can help bathe, treat, feed, entertain, and socialize the patient when they need help the most.
You, too, can help emotionally support your loved one. Spend time with them, go on walks outside, remind them to take their medication, and make sure they’re living in a safe and sanitary environment.
It can be frustrating dealing with someone whose memory, personality, and behavior are constantly declining and changing. It’s important to stay patient and compassionate with them. Remember it’s not their fault and they are being gravely affected by a disease.
Find the help you need for your loved one with dementia today. Reach out to a local senior care facility, join a family support group, or talk to a doctor who specializes in end-of-life care for dementia patients.