What Time Is It? Dementia Confusion

By:  Frank Engelman   |  Posted: October 15, 2020   |  Updated: April 18, 2023

Problem Description


Time Disorientation and Dementia

My Dad is now in a nursing home, and he can’t tell the difference between 4 AM and 4 PM when looking at a clock. When he asks his Voice Assistant, and it says, “It’s 4 AM”, he thinks it said “4 PM,” and he better get dressed for dinner!

This is a common problem for those suffering from MCD (Mild Cognitive Decline) and the early stages of Alzheimer’s.

I have had a number of requests for “ideas that might help” from readers, and note other people with similar problems commenting on various other places online. So, … I have been working on creating an Alexa “skill” that might help. See the “solution” below.


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8 thoughts on “What Time Is It? Dementia Confusion”

  1. I purchased my 87yo mother a

    I purchased my 87yo mother a "memory" or "dementia" clock. She loves it. The readout is extremely large. In addition to time, it lists the full date, day of the week, and what part of the day it is (morning, afternoon, evening). It can also give reminders but they are preset. Mom has a habit of falling asleep easily and would wake up and confuse day and night. I will be reading many articles in this series.

    • Update: Mom still loves her

      Update: Mom still loves her clock! So much so that my sister bought her a smaller one for her front room. The 2nd one has a very loud alarm for the reminder function, so loud that Mom found it jarring and she has profound hearing loss. 🙂 So that's been turned off. But Alexa is still reminding her of things and that's usually enough for her.

  2. Hello SongOfRuth,

    Hello SongOfRuth,

    Thanks for pointing out the need for a clock that also shows the day and date. I have been thinking of adding that type of display in an Alexa Skill


    • The advantage of the Skill

      The advantage of the Skill would be the time would always be right. 😉 Several people in a forum I belong to have purchased the "Memory" clocks for their elderly loved ones and have been well satisfied. 

  3. Hello! I am from Austria. I
    Hello! I am from Austria. I didn´t found this – My clock- for German Market. It would help my father so much. Can you help me? Best Greetings!

  4. Hello Martina,

    Hello Martina,

    I have only written this Alexa Skill for the US market. I'm planning on adding other English-speaking markets that Amazon supports, but hadn't thought about other languages.

    Based on your encouragement, I will look into other languages.

  5. If your loved one is having

    If your loved one is having difficulty saying “Alexa, My Clock” rather than the familiar “Alexa, What Time is it?”, I have some good news for you.

    Amazon has recently started giving preference to Alexa Routines using spoken commands over built-in actions such as “time” now allowing you to create an Alexa Routine with a voice command of “What time is it” and have it trigger the “My Clock” Skill

    If you are not familiar with creating Alexa Routines, see our article “Solution: Making It Easier to Command Alexa”