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Which idea do you like better?


Registered User
Jan 7, 2016
Hi all,

I will describe three care systems below. Please be critical and let me know which one you think you would rather use.

Product One: An alarm clock that connects to an app on your smartphone. You record your own voice and schedule reminder messages that automatically play from the speaker. The reminder repeats loudly until your loved one presses a button on top of the clock.

Product Two: A set of small plastic speakers that clip on to the belt loops of every pair of your loved ones' trousers. The messages are recorded and scheduled through a mobile app and play automatically. Your loved one reaches to pocket level and presses a button on the back of the speaker to turn it off.

Product Three: A network of small speakers, one placed in each room of the house. Reminder messages are recorded and scheduled through a mobile app and play automatically. Combined with an in-home tracking system, the reminder only plays if presence in a room is detected. Thus, the reminder will always play in the room that the resident is in, no buttons required.

Points to consider:
-Loved one has to walk over to the alarm clock to turn it off after every reminder - inconvenient?
-Dresses, etc. don't have belt loops, so an alternative method (i.e. attaching to purse) would be used
-Product Two is much cheaper: 65 pounds vs. 15 pounds
Last edited:

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
Sounds more like market research than looking for insight. You know your loved one best everyone is different.:)


Registered User
Sep 7, 2012

My late Mother and my FIL would both be fearful of a disembodied voice and, because they have DEMENTIA...unable to remember what it was they were meant to be doing.

For instance, my mother would stand by the dining chair, when all of us were eating and not understand that the next step was to sit down and eat.

It's a disease of the brain, not memory problems.
Memory problems are only a symptom of the dreadful progressive brain disease that is Dementia.

Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point


Registered User
May 21, 2014
Wherever the off button was, my OH would simply not understand that he would have to press it!


Volunteer Moderator
Aug 31, 2003
Agreed... And neither. My Mum would not remember how to turn it off, or what button.
That was my first thought. Someone with dementia is likely not to know how to switch something off. I know my husband forgot how to operate simple equipment vearly on in his diagnosis. It might also scare the person if a voice suddenly comes out of nowhere.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
Mum would probably have not remembered to press the button that turned off the message and even if she did manage to do it (perhaps because the message prompted her to do it) she would have then immediately forgotten what the recorded message said.

Im assuming that these are things to try and prompt them to do things, for example, take tablets. It often doesnt work even if you actually phone them to remind them personally because by the time they have gone through the steps of getting the tablets they often forget what they are supposed to be doing and so dont take them, or they decide to do it in a minute and then forget, or they are certain that they have already done it, so dont do it.

They might also remove the speakers from the belt loops - lots of people with dementia remove trackers that are attached to their clothes.


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
my mum would have been very puzzled and then very anxious and it would never have worked but you know your loved one best


Registered User
Jan 7, 2016
Thanks for the responses so far. Please continue to share your insights!

What if the reminder played only once and didn't have to be turned off? If that was the case, would the portable speaker method or the alarm clock be preferable?

Also, do you feel that either of these methods would be helpful in the early- to mid-stage of ALZ/dementia onset?

Thank you again!

- A student researcher


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
I remember mum taking tablets in the early stages.
She had her meds dispensed in dossett form so that her tablets were already sorted out and the dossett was marked Monday, Tuesday etc and marked am and pm. So "all" she had to do was pop out the pills at the right time and take them. At this stage time still meant something to her, she could still tell the difference bewteen day and night and she knew when she was suppose to take her tablets.

So, it would get to the right time and she would be scurrying around trying to find her tablets and I would point them out to her. She would pick up the dossett box and turn it over in her hands trying to remember what to do. Having remembered she didnt know which segment to open as she couldnt remember what day it was, so she would go and look it up on the calendar and then forget why she needed to know. So I would remind her that she needed to take her tablets. She looked for the box again as she couldnt remember where she had put it, would pick it up then worry that she could not remember what day it was and I would tell her and she could then work out which segment to open, but she wasnt strong enough to open it and went to look for a knife to slit open the back. She came back with the knife, but then had to go through the same procedures to locate the dossett box, work out what to do and be prompted on what day it was again. Even so, she nearly managed to open the segment that contained the following mornings tablets instead of that days evening ones. I helped her get the right ones and she immediately put them down to get herself a glass of water (which I had already got her) and having got the water she went back to the dossett box having forgotten that her tablets were already out on the table.

10 mins later she had forgotten that she had taken her tablets and tried to take some more! Other days she was convinced that she had already taken them and showing her the dossett box made no difference.

As I said - this was happening while she was in early - mid stages and still living at home.

Sue J

Registered User
Dec 9, 2009
I do have early onset symptoms and set up a few reminders on my phone for certain things with pre recorded voice. The reminders still go off and sometimes, depending on my symptoms I will respond but the times when my symptoms are bad I am unable to respond and the reminder message can just be another annoyance to a suffering brain. Horses for courses, what works for one will not necessarily work for another.


Registered User
Mar 11, 2014
I used a similar product to product 1 called "memrabel" for my husband during early stages of alzheimer's. I recorded reminder messages and he pressed a button to turn off. This no longer worked once he couldn't remember where the button was, couldn't remember what was said, lost the ability to understand what was being said and where to go.

Product 2 could cause confusion about what they Are. My husband fiddles with anything that is different or asks constantly what it is.

He's in mid stages. Finally everyone is different so neither products may work anyway.


Registered User
Jul 2, 2011
Depends which stage of dementia you're dealing with.When my Dad began to get confused around the house we hit on a brilliant idea!Label the rooms!Bathroom,kitchen etc etc .Dad could still read.In as much as he could recognise the word but unfortunately no longer had any idea what a bathroom was.Dementia is such a complex disease,so much more than poor memory.


Registered User
Jan 7, 2016
@notsogood, do you think that's a common problem?

What do you think about a network of small speakers, one in each room of the house, that read out information when the person leaves/enters a room: date, time, room name, and reminders from caregiver. Do you see a need for this kind of speaker network?


Registered User
Aug 1, 2014
Victoria, Australia
Could I suggest that you read the answers to your first post again? And again?

You seem to be assuming that people with dementia can apply the same thought processes as they did pre-dementia. Many can in the early stages but as this disease progresses, it is a whole lot more complicated than merely giving memory prompts.

There is little point in telling someone what date/ time it is if they no longer have any comprehension of what those things mean.

How confusing would it be for a PWD to have a disembodied voice speaking to you as you move from room to room?

And I am sure that as people develop language deficits then following instructions becomes impossible.

Perhaps you need to reconsider whatever it is that you are trying to find out.


Registered User
Jul 21, 2015
My oh would be terrified to hear voice coming from no one.Hetalks to people who aren't there now. No I did not like any of them.


Registered User
Aug 30, 2012
Brixham Devon
Absolutely none of those-in my experience.

My late Husband hated hearing anything on the TV or Radio as he always thought it was someone talking to him. It stoked his paranoia/delusions/and even led to psychosis.

I hope you don't think that I am rude BUT do you have any experience with Dementia? I ask because perhaps you have someone in mind that these gadgets could possibly help?

Lyn T


Registered User
Feb 19, 2010
The Sweet North
Sorry to say, but so often these sorts of posts from students of design etc seem to come up with ideas first, then do the customer research afterwards.

Ann Mac

Registered User
Oct 17, 2013
Prior to her moving in with us, and when she was still living independently, Mil had a pill dispenser that would beep at the appropriate times. And it would keep on beeping for several minutes, until she removed the meds. She would either decide that she would take her meds later - in which case the beeping would annoy her to the extent she would bury the dispenser until piles of cushions and clothes to shut it up - or she would take out the meds, go to get a drink - and promptly forget that the meds were to be taken. We one day found the dispenser looking rather the worse for wear - Mil couldn't remember why it was beeping, and took a knife to it, to try and shut it up.

I think that there just comes a point where any sort of mechanical/electronic prompts become completely redundant and only the 'human' intervention of a hands on carer will work.

Hair Twiddler

Registered User
Aug 14, 2012
Middle England
My mum has used a hearing aid for over 40 years and a TV zapper for over 30 years, she occasionally (I suspect this will become more frequent) gets angry when the button on her hearing aid doesn't switch over the channel on the TV so no I'm afraid non of the ideas would be at all suitable or helpful to my mum.

A big screen in her bedroom with big writing and pictures of her clothes (in order) helping her through the steps to get dressed in the morning might be a God send though! (Only of course if it was 'inteligent' enough to be able to determine what she had and hadn't manage to get into, the right way round and do up correctly) Now that might be a help.:)