What’s The Best Radio For Dementia? (2023)
A radio is more than just a music player. To older adults, especially those living with dementia, the music and chatter it provides can be a real source of comfort and calm. But with so many confusing tech options out there, how do you know which radio for dementia to buy?
In our bid to make life easier, we’ve done the hard work for you.
What have we looked for? Large buttons, strong sound, the ability to easily programme and play radio stations and any added extras which makes the tech stand out.
When you really start looking for a simple radio, you realise just how difficult this task is. Functionality is more likely to be added to a device rather than taken away and this could easily confuse.
Luckily, we’ve found just the solution to the dementia radio conundrum with the Relish dementia radio.
Relish Dementia Radio
This may be advertised as an easy to use radio for dementia, but it’s not limited to that – it’s a great choice for any older adults who just want a simple radio to listen to their favourite stations.
If you’ve read our other articles, you know we’re big fans of Relish – they make quality, stylish products that people are proud to use, and this big button radio is no exception.
Read on – or if it’s easier, watch our short video review here (or just click on the below):
Why Is This The Best Radio For Elderly?
Relish consults the dementia community when making new products, and you can see this attention to detail in the design here.
It’s a DAB radio and simple music player in one. You can programme it to play four radio stations at the touch of a button, or download your parent’s favourite songs onto a USB which plugs into the back.
The power of music on dementia is further enhanced when it is personalized to the individual, so the ability for this gadget to play really bespoke tracks makes it even more of a significant innovation.
This dementia radio player is easy to navigate. There are separate large on and off buttons and a sizeable volume dial that never goes to zero.
The speaker maximum output power is 3 watts – that equates to about 92 decibels.
When you consider that normal conversation is generally at 60 decibels, and someone shouting in your ear is 110db, you start to understand that the volume has been chosen for people who could be more hard of hearing.
Hearing loss can affect activities like listening to music or watching TV. Read our article on the best devices for the hard of hearing.
As well as looking sleek and clean, the design has been chosen to aid usage. White and grey are used as contrasting colours for the buttons and edges (this differentiation can help a loved one with dementia identify key features).
Hidden on the back is more functionality which your parent’s helpful assistant (you or a carer) can easily access. Here, the USB can be plugged in and even set to shuffle – so you can easily play their favourite tracks or audio without any bother.
We always think it’s a win when something so useful is portable and this radio for dementia is no exception. Choose between plugging it into the mains or using batteries (4 x D batteries).
Plus, if your parent is happy to wear headphones then they can also plug them in too (we like these over ear padded headphones).
This easy to use radio for elderly parents is Relish’s first step in the tech world, but we don’t see it being the last! Given their ongoing commitment to producing aids for dementia that enhance quality of life, this radio is our top choice. A great gift for someone with dementia.
Music And Dementia
If you don’t want to buy a new radio, there are some other (free!) ways you can help your loved one listen to their favourite music and access music therapy.
The charity, Music For Dementia launched m4d radio (music for dementia radio) in 2020. It offers five free internet radio stations, based on music from the decades 1930s to 1970s.
It’s non commercial, so there’s no ads to confuse people and any talking is kept to a minimum.
Like Relish, they have focused on focus group feedback to create the stations’ evolving playlists. Rather than just ongoing repeat, the music’s programming schedules reflect the time of day.
For example, there could be more upbeat music from musicals earlier in the day and soothing sounds towards nighttime.
As long as your parent has WiFi at home (or 4G), they can listen to m4d radio. It can be accessed via any internet enabled device such as a computer, tablet, smart TV or Alexa.
Just log on, choose the preferred channel and press the large ‘play’ button.
Home assistants like Alexa can make life so much easier for your elderly parents. We’ve listed all the reasons we love this useful tech.
Playlist For Life
Sally Magnusson realised that music could deliver flashes of happiness and joy to people living with dementia when she was caring for her mother.
She set up Playlist For Life, encouraging you to create a soundtrack of your life. Tailored to the individual, their website features reams of resources to inspire the personal playlist creation.
Playlist For Life works well alongside the Relish dementia radio – set it up on your chosen platform (e.g. Spotify) and download to a USB to play on the radio. Musical therapy delivered!
There’s such a beautiful link between music and dementia – knowing that hearing a song with meaning can signify so much to our loved ones is important. The radio for dementia and other solutions mentioned here bring music more readily into the lives of our loved ones. Hope you found it useful!
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