Some questions I've been asked
Being a member of a number of forums, relating to carers and dementia, where I've informed other members about how to create the Day Clock, a number of questions have been asked. I will try to answer some of them here, and update the answers as more information is gained.
Q. Do the images go out of sync if there is a power failure?
A. First, I'll mention the commercially available Day Clock. According to their instructions, "if mains power is removed or fails, the time and date options will need resetting."
As for commercially available Digital Photo Frames, this would firstly depend on whether they have a battery back-up or not. If they do, then the time and date should be retained, however, the images may not be in sync. If they are not, then they would need to be advanced to the correct day and time.
This process is simple, simpler in fact, than trying to adjust a mains powered digital clock. As stated in the instructions in the previous post, all that needs to be done is to advance the images to that of the correct day and hour - so Tuesday at 3pm would be image 2_15 (Day 2 at 15:00 hours).
Q. What happens if it is unplugged? Quote: "This might work for many but I have tried this and my dad unplugs everything when he goes to bed and turns it on again in the morning. The frame I used didn't have enough battery back-up and everything had to be re-set which wasn't practical. Great idea though."
A. Of course, this is a problem when the person you care for, has a habit of unplugging things. Whilst there is no direct solution to this regarding Digital Photo Frames, a few environmental modifications may help. Try to plug the frame into a socket that is both out of reach, and out of sight. Use a wall mountable frame, and hide any cabling in a plastic conduit - tell the person you care for that the frame is battery operated (partly true).
There are also, a few short term battery operated Digital Photo Frames. Philips certainly make one, and it will run for up to 8 hours on battery power. But it will still need to be plugged in for most of the time, to recharge the batteries. They are also much more expensive.
Q. What about when a person's faculties begin to deteriorate? Quote: "I think it's a fantastic idea and apart from the obvious problems of power cuts and deteriorating faculties, is a splendid idea for the time it's useful and that can be quite extended, I know it would have been useful for Mam for the last couple of years."
A. There are a number of ways of extending the useful "life" of the Day Clock. A dementia sufferer may no longer be able to read the words, but the meaning of the images may still be understood. When this happens, a series of slides, with the images only can be used (these will be available soon - but should only be used after the original slides, as there would be no established image perception).
If the images are no longer understood, it may then be possible to substitute simple colours - colours that closely match those of the images used previously (these slides will also be made available here). Once colour perception is lost, the colours can be replaced by tonal values, cool grey (Morning), warm white (Afternoon), warm grey (Evening) and black (Night). After this point, we would need to replace any visual stimulus with sound (hearing, unless this has been lost for other reasons, is the last of the senses to go - something else I am looking into).
All of these solutions may, or may not work for the person concerned, and should only be used in sequence. It is unlikely that the dementia sufferer would understand their meaning, if they were introduced to the system half way through the cycle.
There can be no guarantee that such a Day Clock will work for everyone. Some people with dementia develop a mistrust of many things, and may believe the clock to be set to the wrong time. All I can suggest is that if you wish to try them with a Day Clock, then do - if it works for them, great! If not, at least the Digital Photo Frame can then be used for what it is, and loaded up with photos from the person's past, to help them recall the things they can remember.