A West Sussex group test products designed to help people with dementia to remain independent and well.
Crawley’s Forward Thinking group has a packed agenda each month.
Drawing on their experiences of living with dementia to influence local authorities, health bodies and others – as well as raising awareness among the community – takes a lot of planning and reviewing.
We were delighted that they made time to try out daily living aids for our online shop, ranging from talking kitchen scales to a towel-off shampoo.
Talking time pal
The Talking time pal is a compact device that speaks the time when its button is pressed once, and the date if it’s pressed again. It can be worn around your neck or kept on a keychain.
Sandy said that, although the compartments on her dosette box are marked with the days of the week to tell her which pills to take, this doesn’t help if she can’t remember what day it is. However, she could check this simply by pressing the button on the Talking time pal.
The group were impressed with the price – £11.55 including VAT and only £9.63 without.
Talking kitchen scale and jug
The Talking kitchen scale and jug is designed to make measuring out quantities in the kitchen much easier.
The jug has an easy grip handle and clear markings up to 1,300ml, 44 fluid ounces and 2¼ pints. It also has a notch beneath its spout to reduce spills.
The scales speak the weight up to 5kg, in kilos and grams or in pounds and ounces.
Although she said her husband does most of the cooking, Vicky liked the secure feel of the handle when lifting the jug and thought the notch would be useful.
Peter was particularly glad of the option for the scales to give weight in pounds and ounces as well as in metric units.
The ‘Get up in the night’ sensor light is an LED strip that turns on in the dark when it detects movement nearby. When the motion stops, it goes off after 30 seconds.
Grahame and Beryl both said they could see this being very useful for when someone gets up in the night to use the bathroom.
If placed beside a bed or on stairs, it would help them to orientate themselves and see where they are going.
Group members also thought the light was good value – £16.62 with VAT and £13.85 without.
The Droplet intelligent hydration system reminds a person to drink regularly, using a tumbler or a mug with a handle. The cup base detects how often the tumbler or mug are used, and can be set to play messages that encourage you to take a drink.
Everyone could see the importance of preventing dehydration in this way, and Beryl said she’d definitely want one if she lived on her own. However, the volume of the messages was quieter than some in the group expected, even when set at its loudest.
That you can record your own messages was a mixed blessing for some – one group member reluctantly agreed that his wife’s voice would be especially effective for him!
Towel-off shampoo removes dirt and grease from your hair without needing any water – you simply rub it into your hair and then towel it off.
Peter, who gamely tried the shampoo out on the group’s behalf, said it certainly felt as though it worked, and that he’d use it if he wasn’t able to shower.
The shampoo comes in a handy 200ml bottle size, suitable for travel, and it is designed to work on all types of hair.
‘Amanda’ non-slip slipper socks, from the Able Label, are designed to be cosy as well as having a sole that grips to floor surfaces to make walking safer.
Although most people in the group said they had slippers, Sandy was really impressed when she put them on her hands to test the grip of their soles on the table surface.
The socks are Fair Isle knitted with a soft lining inside, and come in one size that fits most people.
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.
Most of the products looked at by the group are exempt from VAT if bought for a person with dementia or other condition.
If so, then the Talking time pal is £9.63, the Talking kitchen scale and jug £58.35, the ‘Get up in the night’ sensor light £13.85 and the Droplet intelligent hydration system £37.50.
The Towel-off shampoo (£3.99) and ‘Amanda’ non-slip socks (£12.50) aren’t eligible for this kind of VAT relief.
As well as helping our online shop know what’s most useful to stock, the group’s feedback will also be shared with suppliers.