The beneficial effects of music for people with dementia are quite outstanding; both for improving the quality of life, especially when living alone, and for its healthy restorative effects on cognizance and lucidity. A recurring problem however, has been the difficulties people with dementia face when trying to operate modern music playing equipment. Remembering how controls operate or manipulation of knobs, non-tactile buttons, and an array of confusing symbols all limit access to this well proved benefit.
Dementia research has been undertaken by the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (BIME) which has looked at the benefits of providing music that people with dementia enjoy.
Verbal communication in dementia patients is often difficult due to short term memory loss but improving the quality of life at home, and avoiding institutional structures, is greatly enhanced by providing music from earlier years. Many people with early stage dementia find controls difficult to remember or manipulate.
The ‘Simple Music Player’ has been designed with ease of operation as one of its main features. The player is operated by simply lifting its lid, which automatically switches it on, and plays a tune.
If a new tune is required then there is a single BIG button which is pressed to skip to the next track.
The volume is set by friends, family, or carers, and isn’t easy to accidentally change. The volume control is designed to avoid being accidentally changed by the user. This could lead to the music being far too loud and disturbing, or too quiet so it may appear to be ’broken’ if hard of hearing or confused. Similarly the tunes are selected and downloaded via USB connection to a PC or laptop
The ’Simple Music Player’ has been designed to be as easy as possible to operate for the end user; that is, the person with dementia. Setting up the player is undertaken by friends, family or carers, as a one time process. Operation is extremely intuitive and does not require any prior knowledge or memory to start and stop the player. The styling is also reminiscent of old radios and is instantly recognisable as something which plays music.
Their construction is highly durable consisting of a strong wooden enclosure with a high strength plastic covering. The loudspeaker grille is cloth finished but reinforced with a steel mesh to avoid any damage to the speaker. Rubber feet ensure that the player does not slip.
The player can be wiped down with a damp cloth if required.
To operate, there are only three controls:
- Start playing music – just lift the lid
- Skip this song – (optional) press the big button
- Stop the music – close the lid
The music will always continue from where it was last stopped.
’Simple Music Player’ is an MP3 (and other formats) player which comes in three versions: Red, Green and Burr-Walnut. They are functionally identical so they all operate in the same way. The intention is for the player to be installed and left powered on, allowing the user to operate it at will without having to do anything else to operate it other than to lift or lower the lid to start or stop the music.
’Simple Music Player’ can be used anywhere in the world and is configured to suit your national power supply at point of order.
Dimensions: 300mm x 190mm x 110mm
- Red, Green, and Burr-Walnut (the walnut version is more expensive because the manufacturer has to use a special technique and a more expensive production process to achieve this attractive finish. The casing is vacuum formed not injection moulded for the burr-walnut version)
- Music upload: via USB connection (cable provided) compatible with Microsoft Windows, Apple ios and Linux
- Music format: MP3, MPEG4, WMA, WAV, AAC files
- User controls: ON/OFF and NEXT TRACK
- Presetable controls: Volume control on the base of device
- Ancillary controls: User controls can be mimicked using remote switches via the back panel
- Headphone socket: Yes
- Power requirements: Local mains supply – factory configured to your country’s standard
- Power consumption: less than 700mA at 9V
- Amplifier: 6W Class D mono audio amplifier
- Speaker: 4ohm 90mm diameter high-quality circular cone
- Cleaning: Wipe down with a damp cloth (not waterproof)
- Country of Origin: Made in Wales, United Kingdom
- The internal memory is set at 4GB. Obviously the length of individual songs has an influence on the capacity. Most people with dementia are more than happy with a much smaller song-list of say 25 to 40 tunes.
- There is a headphone socket provided in the rear of the unit. Plugging in headphones immediately cuts out the main speaker. The socket is the light green one, the same as on your computer.
Simple Music Players bought since June 2015 are Apple compatible. It can also handle the .m4a file format directly from iTunes. The Simple Music Player can handle several popular file formats listed below:
- .mp3 “MP3 format sound”
- .m4a “MPEG4 Audio”
- .wma “Windows Media Audio”
- .aac “ADTS Audio”
- .wav “WAVE sound”
For people with dexterity problems rather than dementia related conditions the ’ON/OFF’ control and ’NEXT TUNE’ buttons can be over-ridden by means of remote switches plugged into the two available sockets (note: the lid has to be closed for these controls to work).
- Red £98.00 (plus delivery)
- Green £98.00 (plus delivery)
- Burr Walnut £120.00 (plus delivery)
Mainland UK delivery charge: £6.99 each
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The Simple Music Player can also be subsidised or provided without charge in some cases, where specific need and lack of financial support is identified.