A group of people with dementia in Cambridgeshire look at new products being developed to help keep track of when it is and where you are.
Peterborough’s Open Minds group tried out some reminder products for us last year, and Ravencourt – the manufacturer of one of them – is developing a new model in light of their feedback.
We returned to the Dementia Resource Centre, where this group of people with dementia meets every week, to show them a new version of the Rosebud reminder clock.
We also took along a GPS locator device to see what they thought of that. Oli Story – Ravencourt’s Managing Director – accompanied us to answer people’s questions about both products.
Rosebud reminder clock
The Rosebud reminder clock has a large, clear display that shows the time and date in a number of formats. You can also set reminders with sounds, pictures and even video, choosing from those supplied or creating your own.
Whereas you could only set daily or one-off reminders before, the new Rosebud includes options for them to go off daily, weekly or on a future date.
Open Minds had previously said the reminder sounds may not be heard in the next room, so the new version being developed by Ravencourt has a volume control. While people at the other end of the group’s long meeting room had to listen out for a reminder at its lowest volume, everyone could hear the loudest even when it was coming from a side room.
Whereas you could only set daily or one-off reminders before, the new Rosebud includes options for them to go off daily, weekly or on a future date, such as for a haircut in three weeks’ time.
Frank said he has a clock with a similarly clear display at home and found it useful to see each morning.
It also now changes to British Summer Time and back again automatically. Norma wanted to know whether it would take leap days into account, and Oli assured her it would.
Frank said he has a clock with a similarly clear display at home and found it useful to see each morning. Colin was impressed with the Rosebud’s reminders, saying, ‘I think it’s brilliant – I get very confused sometimes.’
Oli wanted to hear what the group thought of a second version of the clock with a metallic instead of white plastic finish. Although people differed about how different the metal and plastic actually felt, most preferred how it looked.
Ravencourt had asked Alzheimer’s Society for feedback on a new safer walking GPS device they are developing. A person with dementia can carry this with them and use it to let someone else know where they are. This could be when the person needs help and presses an SOS button, or when they go outside an agreed area that they’re familiar with.
When Jon pressed a button on the device to speak, we could hear him in the room through Oli’s phone.
To test it, Jon from our online shop took the device outside and had a walk around. When he pressed the SOS button, Oli got an alert through an app on his smartphone, which everyone could hear. This sounded very different to usual ringtones, so you’d know it was urgent even if you were ignoring most calls and messages.
When Jon pressed a button on the device to speak, we could hear him in the room through Oli’s phone, and he could hear Oli’s reply. Using his phone app, Oli could see where Jon was on a map.
Valerie was pleased the locator would come in a range of other colours too.
The group had a closer look at the device after Jon returned. One member liked the fact that pressing the SOS button was easy if you needed it, but difficult to do accidentally – a problem he’d had with another device that kept going off in his pocket.
Everyone agreed the silver button was visible on the black device, and Valerie was pleased the locator would come in a range of other colours too.
Norma joked that carrying a similar device meant her daughter could tell when she was in the pub! This underlined a more serious need to be clear about who you’ve said can see where you are – and if a person isn’t able to decide this for themselves, that the decision made on their behalf is in their best interests.
The device can be kept on a keyring or in a pocket or bag, but Dougie was glad to hear it can also be worn on a lanyard around your neck.
Norma said she had got her device for free, and Jon said people should find out what they can get funded for locally before buying products themselves, as this varies widely.
The device can be kept on a keyring or in a pocket or bag, but Dougie was glad to hear it can also be worn on a lanyard around your neck – something he uses to avoid losing keys. Barry said he’d prefer to be able to wear it on his wrist, which Oli said his company is looking into.
Some people thought a ‘safer walking device’ sounded more like something to stop you from falling over.
One person asked where the device would work – how far from the person who it was set up to help find you? Oli said wherever the device’s SIM card would work, so anywhere in Europe. If you went somewhere without a signal, then the person would be able to see the last place you were that had one and when you were there.
Some people thought a ‘safer walking device’ sounded more like something to stop you from falling over. Their suggestions for other names included ‘pathfinder’, ‘keep in touch’ and ‘keep safe’.
Daily living aids
If you have dementia or are supporting someone who does, our online shop includes a range of great products to make everyday life a bit easier.
The safer walking device is still in development, but the new Rosebud reminder clock, with metallic finish and new features, is available from our online shop exclusively from April for an introductory price of £69.99 without VAT – the same price as the existing clock in black or white (you don’t have to pay VAT if it’s bought for use by a person with dementia or other condition).