A TV remote for dementia that does almost everything – that is, when it works…

photo credit: amazon.com

Lately I’ve been stretching for any little way possible to help my mother feel more independent and be able to entertain herself during her many hours of solitary sitting.  While I’m not a person who believes in using TV to “babysit” people, and don’t watch it myself, TV was a big part of Mom’s life during her evenings of retirement, and she misses being able to operate it and navigate channels when her staff people aren’t around.

So my husband and I got the remote pictured above, the Flipper Big Button Remote for 2-Devices, and I thought I’d share part of the review I posted on Amazon, in case it’s helpful for anyone considering such an item.  This device is a neat idea because the complicated buttons to program it are hidden underneath a sliding door that no one would ever be able to find unless you were looking or trying very hard.  Also, it’s built to be able to turn on both the TV and cable box simultaneously with one click, and can reduce hundreds of channels to a manageable list of favorites, so the person flipping never has to see all the options they don’t use anyway.

I would love to know if you’ve had luck with this device or other simple remotes with a cable box situation, because Mom is still requesting one, and I haven’t given up quite yet.

My experience with the Flipper 2-device remote:

Pretty quickly I started getting frustrated with the complicated and sometimes confusing directions, so I turned it over to my husband, who’s an engineer and a trusted whiz at these things. An hour later, it still wasn’t working and he threw up his hands.

We could get it to work with the TV, but not both the TV and cable box. You can solve that problem by just keeping the cable box on and programming for TV only, BUT, that’s a sorry crutch for a device that’s supposed to handle two devices, especially because if you go this route you cannot use the favorites feature, which is a big reason we bought it. Favorites are essential when someone a person with dementia can flip through hundreds of channels getting lost. Most people only want to find about 5-10 of those. Mom gets too frustrated with so much flipping. In order to use the favorites feature, you have to have the cable box programmed into the operation, which as I mentioned above, didn’t work reliably.

My husband has been over to my mother’s twice with me to reread the directions and retry, but no luck. Unfortunately, Flipper does not provide a phone number for customer support. I would have loved to give them a chance to help us. I went to their website (a pain because I can only do that from my own home, not when I’m at my mother’s), but it didn’t help me. I felt even more confused. Big bummer!

This product is a great idea and I look forward to the next version that will have to be simpler to operate and will likely work much better. I hope that happens while my mom’s still watching TV.  Unless I find some straightforward way to get help from the Flipper people soon, I’m sending this one back for a refund.

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2 Responses to A TV remote for dementia that does almost everything – that is, when it works…

  1. Robert J Hayes says:

    Thank you for taking the time to write your experience so the rest of us don’t have to endure your frustration.

  2. Megan says:

    Very glad it was helpful to someone. Thanks for letting me know!

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