Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Dementia day clocks - false claims - misleading marketing - scientific research - sharing

Since the launch of both my free files for Digital Photo Frames, and the launch of the Android app by Zeezap, BIME's own version of the day clock seems to be coming down in price!

Initially, it was marketed at around £80 GBP. Today, at least one website was selling it at £65 GBP. In order to compete, both BIME and its commercial partner need to bring the price down still further.

The problem here is, that although the BIME digital frame is a slightly modified version of a commercially available frame, it is still a cheap frame. Whilst I accept they need funding for further research, the whole essence of a dementia day clock is for people who through no fault of their own, are living with a currently an incurable condition.

To make commercial profits from this, as BIME's partner company does, is unacceptable. This is commercial exploitation of vulnerable people.

I make no excuse for this statement. My files a free. Zeezap's  app is at the higher end of the Android market - but is still extremely affordable - BIME's product, for what it does, and what it is, is not.

Yes, it is a niche market. However it is not a market that should be exploited for profit - reinvestment yes - profit no! We still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding everything about dementia. BIME specialises in medical engineering, and apart from the "dementia day clock", has created little to help those living with dementia. Yet it, and it's commercial partner, have attempted to reap the benefits from selling their "dementia day clock".

Such a clock, will not work for everyone living with dementia, yet, this is the claim on the official DayClock website:

"In the UK there are nearly 750,000 people who have Dementia. If a loved one has dementia or any other memory loss problems, the DayClock will help remind them the time of day. Making dementia more manageable."

You cannot, by any stretch of the imagination make dementia, especially for the person living with dementia, more manageable! Their carers and family may well be able to help manage things for them, but how on earth do you manage dementia? You can't! It is a condition, over which we have no control as yet, and may well not have, for quite some time.

Also the claim that the DayClock "will" help, is a complete misnomer - BIME please provide the proof - such a clock "may" help, there is no guarantee whatsoever that it "will" help.

Everyone living with dementia is different, and the way they are affected by the condition, also varies from one person to the next. To make such a sweeping vague statement, yet claim unproven benefits, is undoubtedly in breach of advertising regulations in a number of countries.

BIME would be wise to distance itself from its commercial partner, and concentrate its efforts on improving the product, as well as making it more accessible to those with dementia, who can ill afford the product at its current price.

I would also add, there is another, even more inferior product, using a similar name - DayClox - making even more unsubstantiated claims. And, indeed, using TV celebrities to falsely promote their product.

How many people with dementia have appeared in these TV programmes, to support such claims? None!

I make no claims about using a day clock for someone living with dementia, other than it may help. However, since April this year, over 300 people have downloaded my free files, and so far, all feedback has been positive.

I make nothing from sharing my files, and would suggest, that until we can substantially prove that such a clock helps, everyone else does the same. Why? Because then we can obtain full and scientifically useful feedback, proving whether or not, such a method of communicating time, really does work for the many, or even just a few, who are living with, or may in the future, find themselves living with, dementia.