TV advice

Discussion in 'Equipment and technology' started by Sophb123, Dec 2, 2017.

  1. Sophb123

    Sophb123 New member

    Dec 2, 2017
    Looking for a recommendation, my mother has mild cognitive impairment and lives alone. She is quite capable of most day to day activities but really struggles with changing tv channels. Unfortunately I live 100 miles away so cannot always help.
    Is there something in existence they would enable me to control her tv remotely? If not can someone design it quickly.
  2. Andrew_McP

    Andrew_McP Registered User

    Mar 2, 2016
  3. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    My dad thinks I am ever so clever because I can bring up the TV channel guide and see what is on during the evening and I can even access the TV Hub and we can look at last weeks TV

    I have shown him how to do it a hundred times but he cannot do it so now I don't show him any more. He is not going to learn how to do it however many times I show him.

    He can only access different channels by pressing the number button, if he does not know the number then he cannot watch that channel. This is so sad and I admit that it used to annoy me but now I just accept it and we watch the same things over and over again.

    Same with his laptop. A year ago he could answer emails but now he can't switch the blooming thing on. His mobile phone is a mystery to him and yet he talks about getting one of those new phones like I have.

    He even talked about getting Sky TV as then we will have more choice. No No then we will have more remotes and more confusion and I can't cope with it.

    We will just continue to watch repeats on Yesterday instead. I think that channel was designed for PWD.
  4. Normaleila

    Normaleila Registered User

    Jun 4, 2016
    This must be so frustrating. Is there a simpler remote that would help? Perhaps one that just goes up and down the channels? If you returned the TV it's possible to remove any channels you don't need - children's, shopping, adult and any radio you don't need. It makes it a bit easier if there are fewer.
  5. sinkhole

    sinkhole Registered User

    Jan 28, 2015
    I've just got one of the RMmini3 remote controllers mentioned in the earlier thread and it works very well. My mum is getting more and more confused when it comes to operating the TV, especially as I've had to install a newer model for her recently.

    I've already rigged up a small IP camera which is pointing at her TV screen so i can watch what happens when I'm on the phone to her, but she can't even work out which button I'm telling her to press sometimes, so now I can take over that function and get it back on the correct input, channel or whatever. Brilliant.
  6. jen54

    jen54 Registered User

    May 20, 2014
    Tvs are so hard these days, we are trying to buy a simpler one,as mums tv is so complicated..but all are the same..mum was forgetting how to use remote or switching source etc
  7. Techno

    Techno Registered User

    Apr 3, 2017

    Where do you live and is this issue resolved ? Thanks.
  8. Techno

    Techno Registered User

    Apr 3, 2017


    Is the TV channel issue resolved ? And where do you live. ? Thanks.
  9. j7e

    j7e New member

    Jul 29, 2018
    I joined the forum just to see what solutions people had found; if anywhere is going to have built up a wealth of knowledge and experience about smart TVs for cognitively impaired users, it'll be the AS forum, surely?

    It's sad to see that others have had no further joy with this. I've spent quite a while researching accessibility and usability of smart TVs because I want my grandparents to have some stimulation whilst they're sat at home. My grandad has difficulty learning new procedures; anything with more than two or three steps, and as many options, is confusing and ends up frustrating him (he doesn't have dementia or a diagnosis of any kind of impairment, by the way). He wanted to use iPlayer on his temperamental and slow Toshiba TV, but the latency of the TV's interface and the overwhelming complexity of iPlayer's interface has deterred him from using it (I tried to raise the issue with individual members of iPlayer's development team on Twitter, but I didn't get a response). As a consequence of a serious infection and subsequent hospitalisation last year, my nan seems to have acquired MCI (I think. We don't actually know. A GP diagnosed something recently, but we don't know what exactly), which presents as deteriorated working memory, reluctance to speak up about a problem, and having limited ability to follow a simple procedure.

    Having our own smart TVs here, I know straight away that they're too complicated and abstract for my grandparents to use comfortably. My efforts to find a viable and affordable solution now showed that usability and inclusion for people with cognitive impairments just doesn't appear to be a factor for manufacturers, developers and campaign groups. There are no reviews, guidelines for best practise, standards, or support resources recognising the issue. There are accessibility features for smart TVs, but these are almost exclusively for hearing and sight impaired users. Perhaps the closest thing I've found to a resource is the GARI website, but it doesn't explicitly account for cognitive impairment in its work; and its product search feature doesn't work anyway.

    To be fair, the issue seems to apply as much to other technologies like tablets and mobile phones. Again, manufacturers account for hearing and sight impaired users, but the usability of their products are very similar to ordinary consumer devices. There are a very small number of specialists who have produced usable tablets, phones and/or apps for elderly users, although these are expensive and, with one exception, haven't considered dexterity for the physical form and handling of their products. It's depressingly disappointing.

    I had considered designing, prototyping and testing my own solution - based around those cheap Android TV dongles selling for around £30 - with an unambiguous and simple interface, but my resources are threadbare and my technical abilities only take me so far. The conclusion I'd come to about the TV itself was that, actually, it needed to be a 'dumb' TV, with only channels and the basic configuration options available, much like old TVs worked. No menus, options, ambiguous icons, multiple choices or rabbit holes to get lost with. These kinds of TVs don't really retail in the UK anymore, so the only option I could find was to import them from Chinese manufacturers.

    As things stand, I think it will be a case of going to Curry's and spending a bit of time 'auditing' a range of TVs there and choosing the most appropriate one. My grandad is keen to use iPlayer - especially during the winter months - so I suppose the fudge will be a case of creating easy-to-follow, printed, visual documentation for him to try with (did you know that there's no printed accessible documentation for iPlayer?).

    Anyway, 'hi'! Just though I'd unload my bit of frustration and bewilderment there as my opening contribution to a thread...
  10. try again

    try again Registered User

    Jun 21, 2018
    As my mum has problems just switching her tv on at times, I can't imagine any solution being simple enough to engage her
  11. Duggies-girl

    Duggies-girl Registered User

    Sep 6, 2017
    Well, my dad has two 50 inch smart TV's 3D HD in fact. He has a range of channels that he knows, the numbers of channels 1 - 5 and the Yesterday channel. He absolutely cannot press the button that has guide written on it.

    Too many buttons, too many choices.
  12. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Using technology is a huge, confusing issue for people with dementia (PWD). Dementia is characterised by progressive loss of skills and abilities and the use of technology is usually the first to start to go. It gradually diminishes so that eventually they dont even know how to switch it on. You can do various fudges, make it easier, write things down, but usually any fix doesnt last long. I suspect that this is the reason why the products simply arnt there.

    Probably the best solution is to edit out all the unwanted channels (limit choice) and use a "flipper" remote that has only an on/off button, a volume, control and one more to change the program. Your dad may want iplayer, but it may well be too confusing for him to manage. My OH is at early stages, and can still manage his android tablet, but already he cannot manage the iplayer feature and I have to do it.
  13. Toony Oony

    Toony Oony Registered User

    Jun 21, 2016
    I had huge issues with Mum's TV. I even replaced a TV because she was adamant that it was broken, when in fact she kept muddling the buttons (that was before I learned that sadly what Mum said was no longer reliable).
    Mum got a bit upset with the TV remote as she somehow kept getting a sex channel :eek: Then, I don't know how she did it, but she managed to tune in to the CCTV camera on the car park gates of her Assisted Living complex!

    In desperation I had limited success with the Flipper remote that @canary mentions. We loaded just 10 channels, and the up/down button just scrolled through those. However, by that time Mum had completely lost faith in her ability, and tbh had also lost the ability to use any 'gadget' by then, she just could not remember what to do.

    If there was a 'dementia friendly' form of Alexa, that may have helped. But even then, Mum would not have remembered that she could tell it 'what to do'.
  14. Normaleila

    Normaleila Registered User

    Jun 4, 2016
    I agree that currently this is the best solution.
  15. Selltre_13

    Selltre_13 New member

    Feb 7, 2019
    Technology has made life very easy. I found shows by Andy Yeatman online and I am a fan now. The content is really good and perfect for the kids. Anyways, this is a very informative forum and I must stick around it. I can share this with my friends as well.

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