digital clockOften after a medical emergency, someone will ask the patient what day or date it is, to test their mental orientation. They might ask who the president is or something similar in order to see if they are living in the moment. It is common for a dementia patient to repeatedly ask, “What time is it?” or “What day is it?” This can be frustrating for the caretaker or visitor. There are special clocks that can keep a person with dementia oriented and in the present moment. Here are some general introductions to the types of clocks available. An online search or consultation with an expert can produce some specific recommendations.


Calendar clocks display the month, day, date, and time, in large digits. Some more complicated ones display weather and other information. This may be too much information for the person with dementia. Generally, it seems seniors are more comfortable with the old-fashioned analog clocks, with the familiar hour- and minute-hands and round face. It might be hard for them to see the digital numbers and try to relate them to a clock face.

Talking clocks were designed for people with vision impairments. They come in many forms, from table models to cubes to keychains, and more. They can announce the time at regular intervals or when a button is pushed, and can even remind the user of important appointments and medication times! Some of the newer technological wonders, like Amazon’s Echo, respond to voice commands. There are clocks that are completely voice-controlled, so the user does not need to fumble with buttons.

LED Day Clocks have large, bright displays that make them easy to see, even in daylight.

There are also many apps available for tablets and smartphones that can display time with digits or clock faces.

A creative option is the 2-in-1 Calendar Clock + Day Clock. This is a large-face clock that displays the day, date, and time, in large type. In the later stages of dementia, it can be set to display a more simple message, such as, “Now it’s Thursday Afternoon.” This can help orient the person with a minimum of information. It is helpful as a bedside companion to orient the user in the middle of the night so they don’t get up to wander around, thinking it’s daytime.

Some thoughtful research can help you decide which option is best for you or your loved one.

The mission of Bristol House Memory Care is to provide excellent care to residents and offer peace-of-mind to family members. Our vision is to be the memory care community of choice for families affected with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. In the spirit of open communication, we work together with families to create a culture at Bristol House Memory Care based on respect and dignity for all individuals. Our expertise in advanced care practices and commitment to ongoing training ensures that we will provide unsurpassed quality of care.

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