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Digital music system for gentleman with dementia


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Old 30-09-2013, 20:30
!!11oneone
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My uncle suffers from dementia. He loves music and can sing along to all his favourites, but he's finding it increasingly hard to use all his old tapes and CDs. The buttons on the stereo are numbered for him, but he just can't do it and is getting frustrated and very upset.

With digital music and properly tagged files, it seems to me that this would be an easy way for him to listen - he can just see the name of the thing he wants to hear. But it has to be really, really simple. I was thinking of a system that had a simple on button, then presented him straight away with a list of artists (or even better, albums). He also can't deal with playlists or anything like that - tapping the album should play it. Tapping another should play that instead. Getting back to the artist or album should be no more than a case of hitting an obvious menu button (maybe one we could label on the unit itself. Again, even better it shouldn't actually take him to a now playing screen. He doesn't need it.

He can't navigate menus or fiddle with settings on his own, although my aunt is relatively good with technology once she's worked it out. But obviously she needs to leave him alone with it and he needs to be able to do it himself, for his own piece of mind as much as anything.

I'm pretty techy so I can and will set up a device, or even a custom PC with locked media player on it if I have to. But it would all have to be integrated, he can't go turning on the stereo to hear it!

I've thought about a tablet, but it would have to boot straight to the music player and I think the music players are too complex, with playlists and different levels of menus to navigate.

Do you know anything suitable? It would really be life-changing for him!
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Old 30-09-2013, 22:06
stylo
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First thought on reading this was some sort of 'juke box emulator', and googling it threw up all sorts of possibilities.

I'm sure there's a guy on these forums who specializes in this sort of thing, so hopefully he will spot your post and come up with a decent idea for you
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Old 01-10-2013, 17:22
!!11oneone
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That's kinda what I was thinking. But the issue is that there's no way he can boot up a computer, start the right programme and make sure the speakers are on. I suppose with a Windows box I could force an autostart and have it take over the screen. Problem is him using a trackpad, and if he accidentally clicks away from the program. It's got to be completely and totally foolproof, or he'll reject it and get upset. He's fine at the moment apart from working memory, but things are obviously going to get worse.

This has been recommended as having the simplest text-based menu system. Anyone used it?

http://www.advancedmp3players.co.uk/...yer.13787.html
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Old 01-10-2013, 18:17
evil c
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I'm pretty sure we had a thread asking a similar thing not too long ago. I'll have a look and see if I can find it. Found it: http://www.cocktailaudio.co.uk/
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Old 01-10-2013, 19:16
chrisjr
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I'm pretty sure we had a thread asking a similar thing not too long ago. I'll have a look and see if I can find it. Found it: http://www.cocktailaudio.co.uk/
The cocktailAudio X10 is an excellent device, listening to some tunes on one at this very minute as it happens.

However I don't think it meets the OPs criteria of very simple operation. It boots up into a menu screen with six options, albeit with the Music Discography selected by default. But all too easy to wander off into other regions of the beast which may confuse the OP's relative.

Once into the discography (as they call the music library) there are several ways to find what you want to listen to. You can list by Artist, Album, Genre or even Track setting one of those as the default view.

So if you could get past the initial menu screen it is relatively simple to navigate and selecting what you want to hear is a largely text based system.

And not sure what budget the OP has but it is over 400 quid. Though it does have built in power amp so can drive speakers directly so doesn't need a stereo system to go with it.
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Old 01-10-2013, 19:56
!!11oneone
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I'll look into it, thanks. To be honest, budget is irrelevant when keeping the poor guy happy and entertained. He's not short of cash, but I'd buy it myself for him. He's a lovely, lovely man and it's all so heartbreaking.

Quick questions - when it's playing, does it switch to a 'now playing' screen or is it left with the selection? How do you get back to, say, the artist screen?
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Old 01-10-2013, 20:30
chrisjr
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I'll look into it, thanks. To be honest, budget is irrelevant when keeping the poor guy happy and entertained. He's not short of cash, but I'd buy it myself for him. He's a lovely, lovely man and it's all so heartbreaking.

Quick questions - when it's playing, does it switch to a 'now playing' screen or is it left with the selection? How do you get back to, say, the artist screen?
The manual is here

http://www.cocktailaudio.co.uk/manual.shtml

As I said above not sure it meets fully the simple operation criteria. Let us assume you want to play Albums and set it up to display the Music database in Album view.

So you go into the list and scroll up and down to find the one you want. Then press OK which lists the tracks on the album. You then press OK again to start playing the album from whatever track you highlighted in the list (so doesn't have to be from Track 1)

You then get the player which has several view options. I use the one with Album art image plus track list. It shows a graphic of the album cover (if you've downloaded one) plus the track playing and a list of tracks waiting to play.

Once the last track has finished it drops back to the album track view. You can then go back to the Album list by pressing the Back button.

You can also "back" all the way back to the main screen while the album is playing if you want and go back into the list, select another album and start it playing which automatically stops the track being played.

There is also a "Now Playing" button that returns to the player if you back out of it accidentally

If you list by Discography (artist view) then you add an additional stage. You initially search by Artist then press OK for the albums by that artist then OK again on the particular album you want to play.

Oh and the other thing to consider. It is very slow to boot up and shut down. When you power it up it takes a while to get going, over a minute before it is remotely usable. And initially you might think it isn't doing anything.

Similarly switching off, you press the OFF button and nothing happens for 20-30 seconds and then it eventually shuts down. So it might make you think it wasn't turning on or off, which could confuse your uncle potentially.
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Old 01-10-2013, 20:59
!!11oneone
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Yeah, it could though I think the actual operation would be ok. I'll talk to my aunt about it, anyway. Thanks for your clear descriptions and help, it's much appreciated.
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Old 01-10-2013, 22:03
Peter_Kelamis
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I'm pretty sure we had a thread asking a similar thing not too long ago. I'll have a look and see if I can find it. Found it: http://www.cocktailaudio.co.uk/
The name Cocktail Audio sounds somehow a very exotic name in audio technology to me!
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Old 01-10-2013, 23:33
diablo
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It may be that he can cope with Cocktail Audio now. If so, then great, I hope it lasts. My mother has Alzheimer's and very quickly forgot how to use the TV/radio no matter how often I showed her and how simple I tried to make it.

Eventually, when she'd given up being interested in TV altogether I just put Classic FM on the radio, all day and all night. She'd started to think that any voices were talking to her and made her confused and angry. I've had a brief look at the Cocktail thing and it looks like it could play random tracks of his favourite stuff all day if you load it up with them . So may be a good buy.

My mother is in a home now as care got beyond me (plus ordered to by social services) and she gets a mix of Doris Day and other crap all day now.
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Old 02-10-2013, 00:53
evil c
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I thought there might be more alternatives out there and have spent the last 30 mins or so entering different search strings in to Google. My last effort 'simple interface music server systems' produced a link which led me to this system. I don't know anything more about it than what the home page says, but it sounds interesting: http://www.qsonix.com/Public/v5/Prod...5Overview.aspx
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Old 02-10-2013, 14:24
niall campbell
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possibly a radio that can connect to the internet?

there are thousands of styles of different music to listen to.

I use this and think its great, note its stereo also; Roberts 83i

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/audio/r...131002132023:s

another radio I use in the bathroom is the Roberts Solar Panel radio and it comes complete with a re chargeable battery pack as most do not.

another simple option is the humble ipod touch and a docking station. You could pre load it with his music , and with the headphone jack of 3.5m to 3.5mm , it will plug into the aux socket of the solar radio
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Old 02-10-2013, 16:43
Doghouse Riley
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Here's a simple solution once you've got the kit and it's from an age he may remember.

For me, it's the nearest I can get to having a jukebox in the house (my two have to live in our summerhouse as my wife think they are too big for the front room!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIjaHH-qbPU

You can buy a ready-made conversion on eBay, if you aren't able to assemble one yourself.
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:49
neo_wales
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Why not just buy a cd player that will play MP3 files. You can put a lot of MP3's on a CD, label the CD clearly and all the fella has to do is push play and perhaps swap a CD. Keep it as simple as you can for him and good luck/well done with your endeavours.

Over the years in nursing I've worked with dementia patients...its the cruellest ailment that can strike a person and his loved ones and families.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:19
MartinPickering
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My uncle suffers from dementia.
I found this: http://www.danielplan.com/healthyhab...versedementia/
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:31
alan1302
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Not sure about that - - any site that has the heading '9 Steps to Reversing Dementia' is very dubious as there is no way to reverse it sadly.
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Old 04-10-2013, 17:24
MartinPickering
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"Oh ye of little faith." (Matthew 8:26).
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Old 04-10-2013, 17:35
niall campbell
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Think the CD advice is the best !!
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Old 07-10-2013, 13:42
2Bdecided
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Assuming he can get CDs in and out of their cases, an easier CD player might be a good solution.

A simple car one, where you push the CD in to play it, hit eject to get it out, and (if you wish) hit track forward and back is pretty much ideal.

Some home models are almost that simple...
http://www.touchbrite.com/easy-use/cd-players

Cheers,
David.
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Old 07-10-2013, 18:03
emptybox
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Of course, if he doesn't need choice, you could set up a playlist of say his 30 favourite songs, and play it on repeat on any computer media player.
All he would have to learn was to hit the space bar on the keyboard to pause and resume.

Perhaps a bit too simplistic at this stage?
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