Easy-to-use Radio: Are there any easy-to-use radio or MP3 devices for people with dementia?

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Are there any easy-to-use radio or MP3 devices for people with dementia?

Question

My father has dementia and finds it very calming to listen to music. Unfortunately, he has increasing difficulty using a standard radio. Do you know if there is such a thing as a simplified radio or MP3 player specifically designed for people with dementia?

Our answer

Many of us enjoy listening to the radio for the music, news and the fun conversations between the hosts, but as technology becomes more complex over time, radio devices do as well. Some of these changes make it very difficult for users to simply tune into a radio station of their choosing. However, there are some radio devices created with user accessibility in mind:

  • Simple Music Player with One Button Radio by SMPL (at The Alzheimer’s Store Canada) is a radio device that has been designed specifically for those with Dementia or Alzheimer’s. It has clearly labelled large buttons and knobs to easily turn the device on and off, find a desired radio station, as well as play preloaded mp3 music. The player comes with 75 classic 20th century America songs on a USB drive, but you can also load your own mp3 music. This product costs about $270 (CDN), plus additional shipping fees.
  • Simple Music Player by iGuerburn (at Amazon Canada) is another MP3 Music Box designed for easy use: Press the large ON / OFF button to Play / Stop. While this does not come with an inbuilt radio, it has a storage of 16GB, which is around 3000 songs. It can also play audiobooks. The product costs about $120 (USD), plus additional shipping fees.
  • SMPL One-Touch Music Player has a very simple and intuitive design. You simply need to lift the flap to start the music and lower it to end the music. It comes with 40 songs preinstalled but you can remove or add songs by connecting it to a computer per USB cable. The radio also has a headphone jack so its ideal for when you still want to enjoy your music without disturbing others. The product costs around $200 (CAD), plus additional shipping fees.
  • One Button Radio by One Button Radio (at The Alzheimer’s Store) is a radio with only one button to turn the music on and off. The front panel can be removed by a caregiver to set the radio to the user’s chosen radio station and volume level. The buttons in this panel can then be removed and stored in the back of the radio to avoid any accidental adjustments. The simple and accessible design of this radio takes a great deal of stress out of being able to enjoy music on the radio. This product costs about $135 to $140 (USD), plus additional shipping fees.
  • Music Player with Radio by Relish-Life (at The Alzheimer’s Store) is a customizable radio and music player with a clear and simple layout. It has easy to use buttons for up to four programed radio stations or preloaded music playlists. Additionally, there are two clearly labelled on/off buttons and a large volume knob that will never reach zero, letting the user know when it is on. This product costs about $150 (USD), plus additional shipping fees.

Being able to access music and radio broadcasts at any point in life regardless of memory or motor control is imperative for mental health and overall wellbeing. Accessibly designed radio devices are an answer to continued enjoyment of music and radio.

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