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TV "playing up" again

Dormouse76

New member
Oct 18, 2019
4
Hi everyone,
First post here for me.
I care at a distance, with my bro, for my mum who has early to mid vascular dementia.
Because she is alone alot, watching TV and listening to music are really important, but Mum is always calling us saying the computer or the TV is "playing up again". She just can't use them any more, pressing random buttons and changing the settings. The TV in particular has a bunch of menus that I struggle to understand myself.
We got her a new dementia friendly remote from Living Well and once we've got that set up properly, that may help, but, here's one example, the Virgin box will still need another remote anyway, so its not a total solution.
How can we find a technological solution?
A TV system where all the volume and channel can be controlled by the dementia friendly remote? ( we could hide the others)?
How can I explain to a shop assistant what her needs are?
I thought getting her a collection of DVDs would be simpler (less menus and remotes) but its still too many options and buttons.
What about a Dementia friendly media player?
I even wondered about something like Alexa, I don't have one myself but I can kind of imagine her saying "Play Elton John", "Play a Bit of Fry and Laurie" and it just happening by magic. Could that work?

I'm sure lots of people must have found solutions to this problem. If it would make her happy, we could spend a bit. What do you advise?

Thanks everyone!
Dormouse
 

Izzy

Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
63,006
69
Dundee
Hi @Dormouse76 and welcome to the forum.

I don’t have any personal experience of a solution to this but I had a look at some old threads on the forum and I wondered if this would be of any help -


I put TV in the search box - there may be other useful threads there.

 

Bikerbeth

Registered User
Feb 11, 2019
1,614
Bedford
Hi and welcome. I have no technical solution but when Mum started having tv using issues we went back to TV with aerial, free view and paper TV guide. Mum then only needed the one remote. I know there is less choice but it was more like the TV she had always used. Fortunately her TV was not smart so a channel would appear from when you turned it on. Hopefully someone may be able to come up with a better technological solution or the suggestions made be Izzy will help
 

TNJJ

Registered User
May 7, 2019
1,776
cornwall
Hi everyone,
First post here for me.
I care at a distance, with my bro, for my mum who has early to mid vascular dementia.
Because she is alone alot, watching TV and listening to music are really important, but Mum is always calling us saying the computer or the TV is "playing up again". She just can't use them any more, pressing random buttons and changing the settings. The TV in particular has a bunch of menus that I struggle to understand myself.
We got her a new dementia friendly remote from Living Well and once we've got that set up properly, that may help, but, here's one example, the Virgin box will still need another remote anyway, so its not a total solution.
How can we find a technological solution?
A TV system where all the volume and channel can be controlled by the dementia friendly remote? ( we could hide the others)?
How can I explain to a shop assistant what her needs are?
I thought getting her a collection of DVDs would be simpler (less menus and remotes) but its still too many options and buttons.
What about a Dementia friendly media player?
I even wondered about something like Alexa, I don't have one myself but I can kind of imagine her saying "Play Elton John", "Play a Bit of Fry and Laurie" and it just happening by magic. Could that work?

I'm sure lots of people must have found solutions to this problem. If it would make her happy, we could spend a bit. What do you advise?

Thanks everyone!
Dormouse
Hi. My dad has moderate /mid stage vascular dementia. I have changed the remote control several times for dad for easier ones. I still have the same problem.His reflexes and understanding is not so good.Things don’t compute..I also have a problem with phones.
No matter which I get him unless I’m there I still have the same problem.
 

Toony Oony

Registered User
Jun 21, 2016
579
Hi - before Mum was diagnosed, I kept getting calls from her that the TV had gone wrong AGAIN - so I immediately ordered her a new TV and had it delivered and set up the next day, as I did not want her to be without one. Didn't think to go and check the old set - didn't think that it was Mum that was having problems .....

When that TV also 'went wrong' warning bells began to ring about her using the remote. When she told me she kept seeing gates opening and closing, but no TV programmes, I was confused. It turned out that Mum was frantically poking buttons on the remote and had somehow managed to access the office's CCTV of the car park entry gates at the Retirement complex where she lived. Goodness knows how she managed it!

I bought Mum a remote that could be pre-programmed with 10 favourite channels. Basically there was just an on/ off button, plus up and down arrows that you could scroll through the programmed channels. Mum could sort of work it, at least enough to get a bit of viewing variety, but it was short lived. In the end I got the evening Carer to pop something on and told Mum just to switch off or switch off at the wall when she went to bed.

Long before diagnosis I bought her a mobile phone with a similar set up of 4 preprogrammed buttons with important numbers - she used it briefly then lost the charger.

With all these things it seemed that a combination of fear, confusion and worry eroded all self confidence and the rapidly progressing dementia took the rest.
 

Agzy

Registered User
Nov 16, 2016
1,561
Moreton, Wirral. UK.
Hi everyone,
First post here for me.
I care at a distance, with my bro, for my mum who has early to mid vascular dementia.
Because she is alone alot, watching TV and listening to music are really important, but Mum is always calling us saying the computer or the TV is "playing up again". She just can't use them any more, pressing random buttons and changing the settings. The TV in particular has a bunch of menus that I struggle to understand myself.
We got her a new dementia friendly remote from Living Well and once we've got that set up properly, that may help, but, here's one example, the Virgin box will still need another remote anyway, so its not a total solution.
How can we find a technological solution?
A TV system where all the volume and channel can be controlled by the dementia friendly remote? ( we could hide the others)?
How can I explain to a shop assistant what her needs are?
I thought getting her a collection of DVDs would be simpler (less menus and remotes) but its still too many options and buttons.
What about a Dementia friendly media player?
I even wondered about something like Alexa, I don't have one myself but I can kind of imagine her saying "Play Elton John", "Play a Bit of Fry and Laurie" and it just happening by magic. Could that work?

I'm sure lots of people must have found solutions to this problem. If it would make her happy, we could spend a bit. What do you advise?

Thanks everyone!
Dormouse
Hi @Dormouse76 , been there, still there daily especially the Virgin box and separate remote and then confusions/anger when she is using the wrong one. Have tried Alexa which was ok for a day or two but now sits there ignored as you cant get Corrie on it!
 

spandit

Registered User
Feb 11, 2020
123
I bought my father a remote with 5 buttons, volume up/down, channel up/down and on/off. He struggles to work it.
 

Rosettastone57

Registered User
Oct 27, 2016
1,371
Hi everyone,
First post here for me.
I care at a distance, with my bro, for my mum who has early to mid vascular dementia.
Because she is alone alot, watching TV and listening to music are really important, but Mum is always calling us saying the computer or the TV is "playing up again". She just can't use them any more, pressing random buttons and changing the settings. The TV in particular has a bunch of menus that I struggle to understand myself.
We got her a new dementia friendly remote from Living Well and once we've got that set up properly, that may help, but, here's one example, the Virgin box will still need another remote anyway, so its not a total solution.
How can we find a technological solution?
A TV system where all the volume and channel can be controlled by the dementia friendly remote? ( we could hide the others)?
How can I explain to a shop assistant what her needs are?
I thought getting her a collection of DVDs would be simpler (less menus and remotes) but its still too many options and buttons.
What about a Dementia friendly media player?
I even wondered about something like Alexa, I don't have one myself but I can kind of imagine her saying "Play Elton John", "Play a Bit of Fry and Laurie" and it just happening by magic. Could that work?

I'm sure lots of people must have found solutions to this problem. If it would make her happy, we could spend a bit. What do you advise?

Thanks everyone!
Dormouse
I'm not sure an dementia friendly remote exists. My mother in law was given a very simple radio to use , but it was simply beyond her to even turn it on. Even with carefully written out instructions , she just didn't have the initiative to look at them,. Eventually it just got put to one side and ignored. There comes a point when the person with dementia struggles to learn anything new , you may have just reached that point. No magic answers I'm afraid.
 

Sirena

Registered User
Feb 27, 2018
2,294
As the others have said, you probably won't succeed in finding something she can operate successfully, however simple. And even if it does work, success will be shortlived. The TV remote and the boiler were the two bugbears for my mother - she kept turning the boiler off, saying it was broken, and calling an engineer.

For a short term solution, I'd do what Beth has suggested - I'd buy something basic that I understood myself, which would be a Freeview TV. If you know how to work it, and there is only one remote and one device involved, it is more likely you can answers questions over the phone for her. (If she's anything like my mother, the next thing will be "I've lost the remote"...)

In the longer term, she will need someone going in regularly to help her, whether that is a relative/friend/neighbour/carer.
 

Angtrog

Registered User
Mar 25, 2020
70
I have the same problem with my OH cant work the tv ie change channels goes to put on a different channel and is left sitting looking at the menu or shouting me saying the tv is on the way out luckily I am at home most of the day,it is a problem thou
 

Dormouse76

New member
Oct 18, 2019
4
Thank you everyone for your responses. It is truly heartening to hear from people in the same situation and many of your comments have given me a chuckle of recognition.
 

Dormouse76

New member
Oct 18, 2019
4
Hi - before Mum was diagnosed, I kept getting calls from her that the TV had gone wrong AGAIN - so I immediately ordered her a new TV and had it delivered and set up the next day, as I did not want her to be without one. Didn't think to go and check the old set - didn't think that it was Mum that was having problems .....

When that TV also 'went wrong' warning bells began to ring about her using the remote. When she told me she kept seeing gates opening and closing, but no TV programmes, I was confused. It turned out that Mum was frantically poking buttons on the remote and had somehow managed to access the office's CCTV of the car park entry gates at the Retirement complex where she lived. Goodness knows how she managed it!

I bought Mum a remote that could be pre-programmed with 10 favourite channels. Basically there was just an on/ off button, plus up and down arrows that you could scroll through the programmed channels. Mum could sort of work it, at least enough to get a bit of viewing variety, but it was short lived. In the end I got the evening Carer to pop something on and told Mum just to switch off or switch off at the wall when she went to bed.

Long before diagnosis I bought her a mobile phone with a similar set up of 4 preprogrammed buttons with important numbers - she used it briefly then lost the charger.

With all these things it seemed that a combination of fear, confusion and worry eroded all self confidence and the rapidly progressing dementia took the rest.
Thanks for your comments. I'd be interested to see a link to your pre programmed remote. It might help for a while.
 

Agzy

Registered User
Nov 16, 2016
1,561
Moreton, Wirral. UK.
I'm not sure an dementia friendly remote exists. My mother in law was given a very simple radio to use , but it was simply beyond her to even turn it on. Even with carefully written out instructions , she just didn't have the initiative to look at them,. Eventually it just got put to one side and ignored. There comes a point when the person with dementia struggles to learn anything new , you may have just reached that point. No magic answers I'm afraid.
Must agree with you on this @Rosettastone57 , not only has the brain lost the ability to remember but also the ability to learn or relearn and life is what it is and won’t get any better, the opposite in fact. Still reserve the right to come on here and vent, moan, complain and seek help though 😆
 

Toony Oony

Registered User
Jun 21, 2016
579
Hi @Dormouse76 - it was some time ago that I got the remote.

I don't think we are allowed to mention specific items on this site (please correct me someone if I am wrong). However if you look up 'dementia TV remotes' on that very well known A**z** site, and look for a 'Big Button' one with a 'Flipper' you should be able to find the updated version!
 

Bunpoots

Volunteer Host
Apr 1, 2016
4,839
Nottinghamshire
Hi @Dormouse76 - it was some time ago that I got the remote.

I don't think we are allowed to mention specific items on this site (please correct me someone if I am wrong). However if you look up 'dementia TV remotes' on that very well known A**z** site, and look for a 'Big Button' one with a 'Flipper' you should be able to find the updated version!
You’re allowed to post a link to something like that that you’ve found helpful for your PWD and mention Amazon or any other company as long as you don’t work for them or own the company. We’re not allowed to name carehomes or hospitals or recommend them though.
 

Fullticket

Registered User
Apr 19, 2016
480
Chard, Somerset
Unfortunately it is something that happens when the brain deteriorates. Fortunately my mum lived with us so it was possible to put on the soaps (which she couldn't follow) during the day and in the evening I sometimes just put on Dave so she could watch QI, Have I Got News for You - short humorous things. TBH I don't think she really knew what she was watching, it was just 'company.' What we also found, to our cost having spent rather a lot of money, was that the recliner chair was all very well for assisting her to stand up or lay back a bit and get her feet up but she could not work out the controls and managed to fall off when it was in recline mode. Good luck.
 

Emmcee

Registered User
Dec 28, 2015
10
Hi everyone,
First post here for me.
I care at a distance, with my bro, for my mum who has early to mid vascular dementia.
Because she is alone alot, watching TV and listening to music are really important, but Mum is always calling us saying the computer or the TV is "playing up again". She just can't use them any more, pressing random buttons and changing the settings. The TV in particular has a bunch of menus that I struggle to understand myself.
We got her a new dementia friendly remote from Living Well and once we've got that set up properly, that may help, but, here's one example, the Virgin box will still need another remote anyway, so its not a total solution.
How can we find a technological solution?
A TV system where all the volume and channel can be controlled by the dementia friendly remote? ( we could hide the others)?
How can I explain to a shop assistant what her needs are?
I thought getting her a collection of DVDs would be simpler (less menus and remotes) but its still too many options and buttons.
What about a Dementia friendly media player?
I even wondered about something like Alexa, I don't have one myself but I can kind of imagine her saying "Play Elton John", "Play a Bit of Fry and Laurie" and it just happening by magic. Could that work?

I'm sure lots of people must have found solutions to this problem. If it would make her happy, we could spend a bit. What do you advise?

Thanks everyone!
Dormouse
Hi there,
It would appear to be quite a common problem :)
I recently disconnected everything apart from the TV (but left the disconnected Freeview box and DVD player insitu because "they look so nice dear" :) ). I then left her with just one remote and put two wee bumpons - on which I had written ON and OFF - just above the green and red buttons. All of the buttons - apart from the ones to change channels, have been taped off with a note to say NOT WORKING. So far she seems to be managing OK.
Emm
 

Louise83

Registered User
Feb 5, 2019
83
My mum struggled for a long time with the remote, even before she was diagnosed.

I ended up getting freeview, and set the timer on the TV to come on and go off at a certain time every day. This meant it was always on the same channel as she didn't know how to use the remote at all so maybe not helpful for your mum just now.

I have a routine set up with Alexa to play the radio for a few hours every afternoon.
 

annielou

Registered User
Sep 27, 2019
1,700
Yorkshire
This is an old post that someone commented on recently so may be out of date noe but the person was talking about a wifi remote controller That might be useful to read about. Sorry if no good x