How to Use Clocks to Reduce Confusion in People With Dementia

People with dementia often lose track of the time, date, or even if it’s day or night. If you are a caregiver, you may find yourself arguing with a loved one about what day it is, or what activities it’s time for them to do. This can cause strain on your relationship- especially if you are asking them to believe your word over what they perceive to be the truth.

 

One way to mitigate these types of situations is to transfer the authority (and blame) to an inanimate object- the clock. Even if your loved one already has a clock or watch in their home, you may not be getting the most use out of it. Choosing clocks that are clear and easy to see, that have alarm functions, and that display the month and day, will make everyone’s lives a little easier.

Low Vision Clocks

Sometimes people with dementia also have age-related vision loss. Even if they don’t, visually tracking tiny numbers can be confusing. That’s why choosing a clock that is designed for people with low vision is a win-win situation.

 

Also, using a digital clock is ideal. Analog clocks can be challenging to read because the viewer has to remember how to tell time on the analog clock. Digital clocks with jumbo-sized numbers offer the best combination of features.  

 

By making sure the time is easy to see and understand, you are reducing the potential for disagreements that might start over misreading the clock. You can gently direct your loved one to look at the numbers, and instead of telling them what it is, you can ask them what time it is. For example, instead of saying, “It’s 6:00! You need to eat your dinner now,” you can ask, “We eat dinner at 6:00. What time is it now?”

Types of Alarms

Most clocks come with a standard alarm feature. This is fine for a one time task, like getting up in the morning. But what do you do if you have multiple activities you would like to alert your loved one to throughout the day? Even if you get a clock that has the multiple alarm feature, how can they tell what each alarm is signaling?

 

This is where clocks like the Your Minder Personal Recording Alarm Clock come in really handy. The Your Minder Personal Alarm Clock can record your own voice and play back a personal alarm or reminder for each alarm. Record up to six of your own alarm messages to alert users when it’s time to take medication, get out of bed, walk the dog- or whatever they need to do!

Dates and Months

It’s one thing to see and know what time it is, and it’s another to keep track of the day of the week and the month of the year. Your loved one may understand it’s morning because they can see the sun coming through their window. But what if they have trouble remembering what day it is? If they have special activities they look forward to every week, they may keep those activities in the forefront of their mind and ask you every day if it is time to go.

 

Using a clock that has both a day and month display can help with this problem. If water therapy is on Wednesday, and today is Tuesday, you don’t have to bear the disappointing news. You can gently direct your loved one to look at the clock and let you know what day it is. Or if they think it is the month of their granddaughter’s birthday, you can ask them to check the clock to verify if it is June yet.  

 

None of these ideas will work 100% of the time, but they will certainly cut back on the potential for misunderstandings.

Fun Products for Kids with Low Vision

We often focus on adult-oriented low vision products because about 45% of low vision is caused by age-related macular degeneration. But low vision affects people of all ages.

Kids aren’t completely independent. But they should be learning to be. Toys, games, books, and educational supplies are imperative for their learning. ILA has product categories we offer that are “just for kids.” (But sometimes big kids enjoy these items, too!)

Children’s Toys

Some of our children’s toys were created to be adaptive, and some of them just happen to work well for kids with special healthcare needs. Moshi Snuggle Pals are cute stuffed animals that unfold to form a soft pillow. Snuggle pals are great for children who are seeking sensory input or who have low vision. The jumbo size and tactile appeal make them fun to hold and pet. ILA carries several different animal types of Snuggle Pal.

The CAN-DO Basketball Kit adapts basketball by using a ball with a bell, a goal goal-locator buzzer, and a bell to hang on the net. The goal locator buzzer helps kids find the goal, and one they make a basket, they’ll hear the bell ring in victory.

For the littlest people, we have braille ABC Wooden Blocks. Made from sustainable Michigan basswood, the 28 block set has both Braille and embossed letters on the block, along with traditional letter forms. Alphabet blocks are a classic toy for young children.

Braille Games

Rubik’s Cubes are so popular that we knew we had to carry one. The Tactile Rubik’s Cube is a modified cube that has different tactile markings for each color on the cube. The cube is the same size as the timeless classic, making it just as much of a challenge.

Go Fish! ILA carries braille playing cards. Our cards are the same size as a standard deck, so you can enjoy playing any card game.

One of the coolest items we have is a Complete Braille Sudoku set.  A favorite game of numerical strategy,  this game uses a wooden playing board with Braille number tiles and comes with a Braille book with 100 Sudoku puzzle and solutions

Sale Items

This week, since our focus is on kids, we are offering some of our kids’ items for sale.

4.5X Jumbo Magnifier 3.5 diameter by Learning Resources– $5.76

This extra-large magnifier is perfect for small hands. Observe the world on a grand scale through a jumbo lens that measures 3.5″ in diameter. The magnifier gives 4.5x magnification. Colors vary.

Talking Musical Instruments Sound Puzzle– $10.23

Did you know? Puzzles increase vocabulary, develop hand-eye coordination, improve memory, and build literacy skills. And this 8-piece musical instrument puzzle also develops listening skills. When a child places a piece in its correct spot, the instrument plays. Children will learn to distinguish between the different types of instruments.

60 Minute Jumbo Timer- $11.81

Teach time management skills with our Jumbo Timer. When the time is up, a buzzer sounds and a button pops up. The Jumbo Timer helps structure independence in activities. And don’t tell the kids, but you can borrow this as a kitchen timer as well. The large size and contrasting colors make it easy to see.

 

Don’t forget to check out all of our other kids’ categories, such as educational products!

Atomic Clocks: What are They?

For most people, Daylight Saving Time is an annoyance. The long-term economic benefits are not easily observable, but the immediate inconvenience of resetting clocks and trying to get to bed a bit earlier is apparent.

The average adult used to spend 10 minutes resetting their clocks twice a year. That’s not a long time, but it does add up. And when you consider how many people accidentally re-set their clock in the wrong direction, imagine how much productivity could be lost!

Fortunately, the use of atomic clocks and internet-based is on the rise. Atomic clocks are helping people save time and avoid confusion. They provide peace of mind, knowing that your time is always correct.

What is an Atomic Clock?

An atomic clock is a clock that uses the vibrations of molecules to keep time. The technique of atomic beam magnetic resonance was developed in the 1930s. By the mid-40s, Columbia University professor, Isidor Rabi, was considering how to use this resonance to measure time.

In 1949, the National Bureau of Standards announced the first atomic clock. The vibrations of an ammonia molecule were used to measure seconds. In 1952 the measurement tool was changed to cesium atoms. Over the next ten years, scientists worked to perfect the atomic clock. Finally, in 1968 the world’s most stable cesium clock was completed. It has an error margin of one second every 20 million years.

Atomic Clocks in Your Home

Most of the atomic clocks you buy for your home aren’t literally keeping their time by running off of vibrating cesium atoms. Instead, they synchronize with the time kept by a true atomic clock at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

This synchronization is done through a special radio wave that transmits the date, time, whether it’s a leap year, and whether it’s Daylight Saving Time. Typically, these clocks check their time through the radio signal every few hours. This keeps their accuracy within half a second throughout the day.

ILA’s Atomic Clocks

To make your life easier, ILA offers a variety of atomic clocks. Our Atomic Talking Time and Date Alarm Watch is ideal for anyone with visual impairments or who is Blind.  The hour and minute hands, as well as the numbers, are a bold black that provides good contrast with the white face. The watch also clearly speaks the time, day, date, and month in a pleasant male voice. All you have to do is set your time zone, and you will always have the exact time.

For keeping time on the go, the Talking Atomic Keychain Clock gives you the convenience of an atomic clock on your keychain! It has a large green talking button which will announce the time and the date whenever pressed. It works anywhere in the US and UK because it detects the time via radio signal. And while it comes attached to a keychain, it also includes an additional thin 30″ string lanyard for wearing around the neck.

If you want a little more functionality, the ILA Atomic Talking Clock w/Alarm, Calendar and Wireless Outdoor Temperature Sensor is a talking atomic alarm clock that has all the bells and whistles. And it speaks all the functions to guide you through the settings. Find out the time, date, and indoor and outdoor temperatures. Use the voice function, or for those with some vision, the information is also digitally displayed in large numbers.

 

To see our complete line of atomic watches and clocks, click here for watches, and here for clocks.

 

How to Create Mealtime Independence for Seniors

 

If you are the caregiver for a senior adult who struggles with mealtimes, you understand the fine line between promoting independence at meals and being an enforcer of healthy eating. Whether or not they eat food, or what food they choose to eat is often one of the few things people can still control when other things in their life start to feel out of control. This sometimes leads to an unhealthy pattern of only choosing things that taste a certain way, or refusing to eat enough out of frustration with physical limitations that make self-feeding difficult.

It is tempting to go to extremes by either taking a hard stance on mealtimes or just throwing up your hands and refusing to give any guidance at all. But there are ways to create a healthy balance between independence and assistance while keeping mealtimes a pleasant and stress-free experience. Having the right attitude and employing a few eating aids can go a long way towards helping your loved one enjoy mealtimes again.

Attitude

The first (and easiest) thing to change about mealtimes is your attitude. When you approach mealtimes as a stressful battle, you are setting the stage for problems. Older adults, especially those with dementia, will often pick up on body language and tone of voice more than the words you are saying. If they feel a confrontational vibe, they will mirror that. This will sometimes result in rigid feeding behaviors, like refusing to eat or choosing a limited range of foods.

Mealtime should feel relaxed and pleasant. If you are used to dropping food off in front of your loved one and then using that time to catch up on housework or “me time,” you may want to reconsider. Sitting together at mealtime, sharing a meal, and having conversation will make your loved one feel comfortable and valued. Pleasant, safe feelings lead to better eating habits and encourage a willingness to try new things.

Also, this time together will give you the opportunity to notice if they are experiencing any attention issues or fine motor issues that may make feeding difficult. You can use verbal cues to keep them focused on their meal, or to help gently direct them on how to get the food on their utensil and into their mouth. They may need help with the sequencing of events, or they may have side neglect from stroke, and fail to see the food on one side of their plate.

Eating Aids

Some mealtime problems may be due more to physical issues than mindset issues. Does your loved one have arthritis, a weak grasp, or other hand limitations? Special utensils can help. For example, a built-up-handle fork is perfect for people with upper extremity weakness or reduced range-of-motion. This type of fork features a built-up handle with a contoured shape. That makes it easier to hold and use.

Maybe your loved one gets frustrated at chasing food off the edge of their plate. The Inner Lip Plate is designed as an aid in self-feeding. The inner lip holds the food on the plate, while they bring their fork or spoon to the edge of the plate. It’s perfect for use at home because it blends in with regular tableware. Plus, it’s dishwasher and microwave safe.

An aid like the Stress Less Drink Holder can reduce spills and frustration. Set it beside your loved one’s favorite comfy chair or couch, bedside, desk, or even dining room table. The Stress Less can accommodate a variety of beverage containers from mugs, coffee cups, glasses & tumblers. It has a built-in Coaster and a Handy Holder for personal items like tea, sugar packets, a pen, magnifier, even their glasses, or whatever they wish to place in the handy slots. And the coaster rim helps contain any unintentional drips or spills.

 

Check out all of our eating helpers and utensils here.