Time and place: People with dementia try out a clock and a locator device

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. 

Oli Story showing the Rosebud reminder clock to people with dementia

Oli demonstrating the Rosebud reminder clock

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. 

The Rosebud reminder clock

The Rosebud reminder clock

GPS locator 

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.

Trying out the safer walking device

Trying out the safer walking device

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.

Browse our shop

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).

Dementia together magazine: Apr/May 19

Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for everyone in the dementia movement and anyone affected by the condition.
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4 comments

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I am using the GPS daily. My husband wears it all day on a lanyard. He still goes on one walk of 45 minutes in the cillage independently. The other day he extended his walk to another familiar place. When he had not returned within the 45 minutes I traced where he was. I then phoned the GPS and told him to return . I met him halfway (he was on a towpath I could not reach by car)...all was well. I am so pleased he can still do this one thing independently thanks to the GPS. Tip: I use Gifgaff as provider both for GPS and phone. the GPS is really free as contacts between Gifgaff equipment is free (just bought a £10 one off credit)

My wife has had one of the locator devices for some time now. It recently worked well in South Africa. If you Google EV07 tracker you will get all the details. It can be programmed to alert if the wearer falls or leaves a designated area and will also report if the battery is getting low.

My husband has worn one of these from Tracker Expert on a lanyard round his neck for the past 2 years:- he doesn't understand about pressing the SOS button, but I can still phone him up and talk to him without him having to handle the device or do a thing. To track him, I just have to send a text message 'loc' to the tracker's sim, and it sends back a text message with the latitude and longitude and a click-on link to Google Maps which is amazing. It also tells he how fast he is going, and will give me the address of the nearest property and road. Great peace of mind, which means he can still go out walking. Loses reception sometimes though along the towpath near us. I just have to wait until reception is available again.

I bought a day date watch* and I find it really helpful. I refer to it many times a day and feel lost without it. (* From that well known Swiss watch company!)

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