There is a wide variety of dementia products and aids available to buy online – but be wary, not all of them are helpful. The type of dementia aid that will be helpful for your relative will depend on their symptoms and the level of support that they need.
Dementia products and aids can help to alleviate some of the symptoms and improve quality of life for individuals and their families living with dementia. We have identified some of the key issues below and researched the dementia aids available in the UK that provide a real solution to these problems.
Dementia products and aids for sleeping better
Struggling to sleep at night is a common problem faced by people living with dementia. This is particularly an issue for people with sundowning dementia – whose circadian rhythm (body clock) has been affected. There are a number of products and aids for people with dementia who struggle to sleep.
Weighted blankets can be a good product for people living with dementia who struggle to sleep because of anxiety and restlessness. Many dementia patients wake up in the night feeling anxious that they are supposed to be somewhere else. A weighted blanket can help to reduce this anxiety, and make it easier to fall asleep again.
Age Space Recommends: Mela Weighted Blanket
The Mela Weighted Blanket is a multi-award-winning blanket for easing stress and getting a better night’s sleep. It is available in 3 sizes (single, double and king) and up to 4 different weights. The Mela Weighted Blanket also comes with a double-sided removable cover. It costs £109.99 excluding VAT.
For more recommendations, read our guide to 6 of the best weighted blankets for the elderly, which also includes answers to common questions about weighted blankets.
Glowing Timer Devices
Glowing timer devices use light pattern systems and a metronome to help people sleep. They help people with dementia to concentrate on slowing their breathing, allowing them to fall asleep naturally more quickly. The light exercises tend to last between 5 and 25 minutes, and then it turns off for the night.
Age Space Recommends: Dodow Glowing Timer Device
The Dodow is a market-leading glowing timer device which helps people get to sleep in as little as 8 minutes. The user breathes in time with the light display, which calms the brain and body and prepares it for sleep. The Dodow costs £49.99, or you can buy bundles at reduced rates.
If you are not sure whether or not your relative with dementia struggles to sleep then you may be interested in Assistive Telecare. Assistive Telecare, such as a wireless bed exit pad, can help you to keep track of your relative's activity at night. Read more about Assitive Telecare for the elderly.
Dementia products and aids for preventing falls
People with certain types of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s or Lewy-body dementia, are more likely to have a fall. There are different reasons why people with dementia fall over; they may struggle to walk, they may have poor visual understanding of their surroundings, or they may be trying to walk around at night when there are no lights on.
There are dementia aids and products available to help prevent different types of falls. If your relative struggles with mobility, then the best solution is a walking aid or if they are prone to falls, we recommend a personal alarm. For night wanderers – motion sensor lights are a great solution.
Motion Sensor Lights
A motion sensor light works by turning on a light when somebody walks past it or gets out of bed. This is helpful for people living with dementia who get up in the night, as it means that they are not walking in total darkness — but you don’t need to leave a light on all night which can interrupt sleep.
Age Space Recommends: Techsilver LED Bright Motion Sensor
We think that this LED Bright Motion Sensor light from TechSilver is one of the best aids for people with dementia who have a tendency to get up in the night. It detects movement and darkness, and only activates when it is needed. It is bright enough to guide a person to the bathroom, or to take in their surroundings – and goes off speedily once somebody is back in bed. It costs only £11.95 excluding VAT.
Personal alarms for people with dementia
Personal alarms can provide reassurance that, should your relative with dementia fall, they will be able to call for help. The best personal alarm for a person with dementia would have automatic fall detection and GPS tracking. This means that your relative will not even need to remember to press an alert button should they have a fall; and that it can tell you where they are at any time.
Age Space Recommends: Taking Care Anywhere Alarm
The Taking Care Anywhere alarm has full GPS tracking capability and automatic fall detection. This means that in the event of a fall, it will detect the fall and signal an alarm from wherever your relative is. The Taking Care Anywhere alarm is great for people with dementia who are more likely to wander, forget to press the button themselves, and at a heightened risk of a fall. It costs £70 excluding VAT, plus £25.99 monthly subscription.
Dementia products and aids for remembering to take medication
Forgetting to take pills is a common problem faced by people living with dementia — particularly people who live alone. It can be emotionally tiring to remind your relative every day that they need to take their medication. This is compounded when you ask your relative and they cannot remember if they have taken it or not.
Automatic Pill Dispensers
One solution to people with dementia forgetting to take their pills is an automatic pill dispenser. Automatic pill dispensers can be programmed to release the correct pills for a person at the correct times of the day. They will also alert the user when it is time to take their pills.
There are different types of automatic pill dispenser; some simply release the correct dosage at the programmed time of the day/night, whereas some more advanced options can alert chosen family members if medication isn’t being taken.
Age Space Recommends: Pivotell Advance GSM Automatic Pill Dispenser with SMS Messaging
A great product for people with dementia that forget to take their medication is the Pivotell® Advance GSM Automatic Pill Dispenser with SMS Messaging. This will automatically dispense your relative’s pills, alert them that it is time to take them, and also helpfully send a message to 3 trusted contacts to confirm whether or not the dispensed pill has been taken out by your relative. This means that you can call them to find out why pills haven’t been taken that day. It costs £165.00 with VAT relief.
VAT relief is available on aids purchased for people who are chronically sick or disabled. Dementia is regarded as a chronic illness, meaning that dementia products and aids are eligible for VAT relief.
Paying no VAT means you can pay 20% less than the retail price.
Dementia products and aids for people who wander
It is estimated that 6 in 10 people with dementia will wander. This is a cause of huge distress to both family members and the person with dementia. They may also be unable to recall their name, their address or who to contact if somebody finds them and tries to help.
GPS Smart Watches
GPS smart watches are useful for people with dementia that have a tendency to wander. These watches can allow a trusted family member to see where their relative with dementia is — and be alerted if their relative has left a pre-programmed “safe zone”. Watches are a particularly good choice of GPS tracker for people who are used to wearing a watch every day.
Age Space Recommends: CPR Guardian II Easy To Use Personal Alarm
This light and stylish watch is a good personal alarm for people with dementia. The CPR Guardian can pair with a carer’s smartphone, enabling them to find out the wearer’s GPS location and communicate with the wearer directly through the watch. The watch also comes with an SOS button that alerts the carer directly when pressed. It costs £199.99 excluding VAT.
Simple Mobile Phones
Mobile phones for people with dementia should be simple and intuitive to use. There are a growing number of dementia phones for your relative to choose from. These have large buttons and are easy to use. If your relative needs something super simple then they should choose something like the Doro 780X featured below, but if they can handle something slightly more advanced for texting or using maps then there are also dementia-friendly smartphones on the market.
Age Space Recommends: Doro 780X
The Doro 780X is an ideal phone for people with dementia. Though it is not specifically a dementia phone, its ease-of-use and 3 large direct dial buttons make it perfect for people who would struggle to use a regualar mobile phone. It also has the ability to send a GPS position to a designated contact if the user needs help and can’t explain where they are. The Doro 780X costs £150.
Dementia products and aids for memory
The effect of dementia on short-term memory is one of its most pronounced symptoms. This can cause many challenges in remembering day-to-day tasks that are important. Many people are looking for products that reduce how frequently it is necessary to call their relative with dementia and remind them of things.
Dementia clocks, including dementia alarm clocks — can help your relative to remember things and feel less anxious. These are clocks specifically designed to be easy to read and be used by people with dementia. Some more advanced dementia clocks can have personalised images and messages added to them.
Age Space Recommends: Rosebud Reminder Clock
The Rosebud Reminder Clock combines ease-of-use with a number of standout advanced features. It can present the time in 4 different ways, depending on what is easiest for your relative to recognise. You can also programme it with personalised prompts reminding your relative of what they need to do e.g. taking pills, having lunch, or that their carer will be coming soon. The Rosebud Reminder Clock costs £69.99 excluding VAT.
Forgetting to eat is common among people with dementia as their condition develops. It can also be a challenge to get your relative to eat as much as they need to to stay healthy. Read our list of 8 key tips to getting somebody with dementia to eat more.
Dementia products and aids for living well
Dementia products for living well include for example – ways of easily listening to music, the radio, and using mobile phones. Many people with dementia do not necessarily need dementia specialist products to do this — especially if they have a radio or music system they have been using throughout their life. Some people do find that their dementia is a challenge to them doing the activities that they enjoy.
Dementia Music Players
Listening to music has been found to not only be enjoyable for people with dementia, but to stimulate important brain activity. Read this blog written for Age Space about the unique power of music to bring memories back to life for people with dementia.
Age Space Recommends: Techsilver Simple Music Player for Dementia
This Simple Music Player from Techsilver makes it extremely easy for your relative with dementia to listen to music as and when they want to. It’s extremely simple to use — and says clearly on the player how to use it. You just need to upload your relative’s favourite songs or audiobooks on to the player using a USB from a computer or laptop, and then they are good to listen! It costs £109.95 excluding VAT.
Age Space thoroughly researches all products and services based on the following criteria: Cost, availability, reviews/recommendation, company accreditation and regulation.
We have a panel of older reviewers and where possible will review products in more depth for usability. These can be found in our Reviews section.