Is there a clock that indicates AM and PM for my father-in-law with Alzheimer's?

7 answers | Last updated: Sep 27, 2016
Wit's end! asked...

My father-in-law with Alzheimer's is confusing day/night hours. He'll go to bed at 4:30 in the afternoon, waking a number of times to urinate. Sometimes when he wakes up (say at 7:00) he'll not know if it's AM or PM. Does anyone know of a VERY simple clock that would show the hour and an AM/PM indicator? Am finding most of the ones I've seen too complicated for him.

Expert Answers

Deborah Cooke is a gerontologist specializing in dementia, delirium, caregiving, and senior fitness. She is a certified dementia care provider and specialist through the Alzheimer's Foundation of America. Cooke currently manages several multidisciplinary programs to enhance well-being for hospitalized seniors and other vulnerable patients at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. She also serves on the board of NewYork-Presbyterian's Patient and Family Education Advisory Committee. She has 18 years of experience working with the aging and caregiver communities.

Gosh. This is a good question. Most of them have the very small light on the left indicating the am or pm, not very friendly. I did a quick search of this and found this one. It's pricey, but may be worth it. The pm is on the left hand side, not the obvious choice on the right. Looks like there is no am option to light up, but will say it when telling the time.

MOSHI Voice-Activated Talking Alarm Clock

Check the pricing as it varies. Let me know if it works!

Community Answers

J.r.s. answered...

Dealing with a similar situation, I did some research and found two sources that could be helpful...a day/night clock and a night light that changes from sun to moon to sun. Day/Night Clock:

Night Light:

A fellow caregiver answered...

Searching for an answer to this for my 86 year-old mother in law. we ended up connecting a timer to a colored night light. We timed it so that it was on after 11PM and went off at 8AM. If it's on that means nighttime. Cheap and effective

Sussexrokx answered...

There is a commercially available Day Clock, and this displays a message - "Now it's Monday Morning", rather than the actual time. Each day is divided into periods, rather than times - Morning, Afternoon, Evening and Night. The clock is however quite expensive, and is in fact based on a relatively inexpensive Digital Photo Frame.

It is possible to create such a clock using many of the commercially available, and cheaper, Digital Photo Frames. As long as the frame allows an image to be changed every hour on the hour, all that is needed is 168 images, one for each hour of the week.

Once set up, the frame can then be used as a Day Clock, as shown in the image (see link below). This particular photo frame is a Motorola MLC800. The images are stored on an SD card, and once inserted, the slide show begins. All that needs to be done is to advance the slide show to the image appropriate for the hour and day, after that the frame advances on the hour. It also has its own clock and calendar, which can be turned off if required.

Each image file is named so that the correct sequence is followed (ensure that the frame is NOT set to randomly display images).

For this particular set up, each period has been divided as follows: Morning 6am to 12 noon (6 identical images - for each day) Afternoon 12 noon to 6pm (6 identical images - for each day) Evening 6pm to 10pm (4 identical images - for each day) Night 10pm to 6am (8 identical images - for each day)

The day does not change until the Morning period starts, so, for example, Monday Night changes to Tuesday Morning at 6am on Tuesday. This is to avoid any confusion that may be caused by changing say Monday Night into Tuesday Night at midnight. If someone was to wake up at 2am after going to sleep on Monday Night, and the display tells them it is now Tuesday Night, they may think they have been asleep for over 24 hours.

There are four different background images, one for each period. Each image has been selected to represent that particular period.

If after time, the dementia sufferer is no longer able to read the words, they may still be able to see the image, and may still be able to perceive the period of the day, by using the image alone.

I am currently using the frame illustrated for my Mother, who has vascular dementia. So far, it seems to be helping.

Follow the link to see the one I have created.

Cpark answered...

I had exactly the same problem with my mum. She would get up of a night and think it was morning. There is a new product (released June 2013) that is a day and night visual clock that displays the day, time, AM or PM, but importantly a picture of a day scene or night scene. It is better than a dementia clock as it can be programmed to suit the individual's sleeping habits (my elderly mum goes to bed at 5pm and gets up at 6am so not the norm!). The product is called ZEEZAP. It is an app for an android tablet device (which I picked up for $69AUD). I have tried heaps (and spent a fortune) and I wasn't going to bother but I am glad I did. I went into it thinking - well if it doesn't work at least I can use the android tablet (unlike the other dementia clocks which were useless) but it has worked great. She hasn't got up since we started using it. Try google play or (I think they are on facebook too).

A fellow caregiver answered...

We bought my father in law a military clock.

Anonymous caregiver2 answered...

after weeks of looking I found them, but they are in the UK Look at these, :