Our panel tries out players for radio and music that aim to be easier for people with dementia to use.
This issue, we return to our West Sussex consumer panel of people affected by dementia. They tried out some new and existing radios and music players at home, and we caught up over Zoom to see how they’d fared with them.
Two of the products were from Ravencourt – one existing player plus the prototype of another that’s in its final stages of development. The third was a new radio and music player from Relish.
One Button Radio
The One Button Radio has long been a success with people who want to use a retro-looking AM/ FM radio without having to deal with lots of dials and buttons.
After setting the station and volume, and covering these controls with the panel, you can then turn the radio on and off using the single button on top.
Although Bob and Jane found getting the panel off their radio a bit fiddly, setting it up after that was straightforward (and Oli from Ravencourt said the particular issue with their panel had since been fixed).
‘It was very easy to set up, easy to tune,’ said Jane. ‘Bob managed to switch it off without even looking for the on/off switch.’
Bob thought it looked a bit old-fashioned, but Jane noted that that was the idea, ‘It’s retro, and that’s quite popular!’
Jane said, ‘The sound was very good – we were impressed, considering it’s not a digital radio. And it’s very sturdy, it’s very, very difficult to knock over, which is a plus. All round a very good radio.’
They thought the price was fair, and Jane added, ‘My father had macular disease, and we had dreadful trouble with him and the radio. This would have been wonderful for him.’
Easy Music Player
The Easy Music Player is based on a similar idea to the One Button Radio, but has a DAB radio and a bright, contemporary look.
An initial white prototype was reviewed by our panel earlier this year, but this time we saw a yellow version – a colour chosen by people through Dementia Voice.
John and Joyce said the points raised when the panel looked at the previous prototype had all been addressed, including having much clearer instructions.
While they weren’t able to get a radio signal – probably just a problem with this specific prototype – they did play music from a mobile phone using Bluetooth.
‘That worked well,’ said Joyce, ‘though the sound quality on the headphones was better than the radio on its own.’
They also successfully tested playing music from a USB stick during our Zoom session.
John said, ‘Even the cover that you pull down to get to the buttons, that was easy to do.’
Joyce was worried about the battery draining, since the button on top only mutes the player rather than turning it off fully. However, Oli said Ravencourt will look into changing this while making other final tweaks to the design.
‘We like the concept of a one-press button,’ said Joyce. ‘We like the yellow as well, it stands out.’
Relish Radio and Music Player
The Relish Radio and Music Player also has simple controls on its top – on and off buttons, a volume dial and four buttons to choose from three radio stations (with labels you can personalise) and a playlist.
These options are set using more detailed controls that are then covered by a panel at the back.
Chris said, ‘It was really good for Mick. Since we’ve received it, he has played it every day – and we’ve got lots of things, like Alexa, that he does not use, so he really likes this.’
Chris said they both liked the packaging and instructions, and had no problems setting up or using it.
‘It’s not overcomplicated for him, though he’s now having trouble doing things like that. The price might have put us off, but because I know that Mick uses it, I would pay that.’
Gordon and Alison also enjoyed this player, saying that it looks ‘robust and classic’.
‘Part of the appeal is that it looks like a radio we had when I was a young boy,’ said Gordon.
Alison added, ‘We were very, very keen. I was terrified about setting the programs but that was no problem – I was practically doing cartwheels round the garden after doing that!’
Both couples thought a longer cable would be useful, which Geoff from Relish said was helpful feedback.
Roger also thought it was excellent. ‘Once it’s set up, certainly from the listener’s point of view, just pressing the button and getting music is so much simpler.’
He had already created a playlist for his wife Elizabeth, who’s living in a care home, and is looking forward to her being able to hear it on this player.
Prices (correct at October 2021):
Helpful everyday products
We have a great range of products designed to help people with dementia and their carers to be more comfortable in their homes, while supporting independence and safety.
Our online shop offers many products designed to help people affected by dementia to live well at home.
You don’t have to pay VAT on many daily living aids if they’re for use by a person with dementia or other condition – tick the box stating that you’re eligible for VAT relief at checkout.