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Senior Friendly Guide to Alarm Clocks

Best alarm clocks for boomers

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with our alarm clock. Alarm clocks are generally used to wake someone up from a night’s rest or a nap. You can also set an alarm clock as some sort of reminder for daily tasks: take a pill, go for a walk, turn off the oven. Generally speaking, when the alarm goes off, you need to press a button or handle to turn the sound off. (As we will explain later, certain alarm clocks do not emit a sound but a light.)

Having an alarm clock keeps us alert, responsible, and on top of our schedule. They are particularly important for aging adults, who might be on a strict sleep schedule; relying on your internal clock might cause one to oversleep and in consequence make it harder to fall asleep later that day.  Furthermore, take into account that seniors are prone to memory loss; an alarm clock, functioning as a loud auditory reminder, also might help provide the usually forgetful about certain tasks. With the ability to tell time and provide us with constant reminders, consider the alarm clock a highly useful device for aging adults. Though, it is important to realize that not all alarm clocks are made the same. Pending on your own physiological needs, there are certain features that seniors should look for in an alarm clock. We hope that our guide will provide you with the tools needed to pick out the appropriate alarm clock.

What to Look For in an Alarm Clock:

I. Ease of Use – Setting up an alarm clock should be simple and intuitive. You don”t want to have to constantly refer to the instruction manual in order to activate the alarm system. The harder it is the program, the higher the likelihood for some sort of programming error. For seniors who might be technophobic, a simple to use alarm clock is key because it is not intimidating. Curtis Am/Fm Clock Radio Led This Curtis model is known for its barebones simplicity. You preset the desired time for the alarm to ring, activate alarm clock mode, and then the alarm clock will ring at the appropriate time. You have the option of waking up to AM/FM radio or the default buzz. II. Large Snooze Button –Everyone has their own personalized morning routine. For many of us that includes waking up to the alarm clock, hitting the snooze button, laying in bed for five to ten minutes, hearing the alarm ring once again, and then getting up. While hitting the snooze button delays the inevitable (getting out of bed), it also enables us to start the day at our own pace. Having a large snooze button is a nice feature because it provides aging adults with poor eye-hand coordination with a large, can”t-miss target to hit. Krown Manufacturing WakeMEup Alarm Clock As you can see with the picture above, the oversized snooze button is located to the right of the smaller buttons. It easy responds to your touch, so it doesn”t seem as if you will have a difficult time locating or activating the snooze button. III. Large LCD Screen – It is common knowledge that aging adults have weaker eyesight than their younger counterparts. When it comes to alarm clocks, seniors with poor eyesight should look for models with large LCD screen, as it will be easier to discern the numbers on display. Keep in mind that it is common to look at the time when waking up in the middle of the night. Given that most of us don”t wear our glasses in the middle of the night (and don”t want to be bothered with putting them on either), it is nice to have large number to easily relay that information. Magnavox MCR140 Big Display Alarm Clock Radio Crisp large numbers, displayed on a bright LCD screen, enable even those with faint eyesight to be able to make out the exact time. In fact, the numbers come out to nearly 1.5 inches in height, which is unusually large from an alarm clock. IV.Dual Alarms- When it comes to alarm clocks, it seems as it might be the case that two alarms are better than one. The user has the ability to set two alarm clocks at once. For example — one to wake you up from a night”s rest and the other to remind you to take your pills. For aging adults, who happens to have poorer memory than the rest of the population, the dual alarm clock functionality, simply functions as a useful reminder to keep your schedule in order. Emerson CKS3516 SmartSet Dual-Alarm Clock Radio with Time Projection System This Emerson model is endowed with dual alarm clock functionality, where you can preset the alarm clock in advance. The preprogrammable dual alarm setting can be used for weekdays only, weekends only, or everyday operation. V. Sunrise Simulator- A sunrise simulator recreates the look of a natural sunrise to wake you up, instead of forcing you up and out with the jarring sounds of an alarm clock. This is a great device for those of us who have trouble waking up with a traditional alarm clock or might be hard of hearing and don”t respond to the noises an alarm clock emits. BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model, Charcoal This alarm clock, equipped with a sunrise simulator, emits light to wake you up naturally and gently. The BioBrite model also allows you to actively adjust the levels of brightness. We should not that it also features a back up auditory alarm as a secondary option. Interestingly enough, the light can also be used as a reading lamp.

10 Responses to Senior Friendly Guide to Alarm Clocks

  1. James Armstrong July 25, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    Looking for a Canadian source for a manual loud alarm clock

  2. Jane Kriss July 26, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    Know of any clocks that include the day of the week and date in a legible design (i.e. large)?

  3. Max Baumgarten July 27, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    We suggest that you look into the Coby AM/FM Alarm Clock Radio. It comes equipped with its fair share of elder friendly features, most notably, a night large and bright screen. Check out the link on

    Let us know if we can be of any more assistance.


  4. pat walker August 12, 2010 at 8:33 am #

    I’m looking for an alarm clock that indicates boldly whether it’s morning or night time; so when dad wakes up from a nap and sees 6:30 he doesn’t think it’s time for breakfast. Or when he gets up at night, there might be an indicator shining on the ceiling that shows a moon denoting it’s still night time.

  5. alan April 24, 2011 at 8:37 am #


  6. Frank June 15, 2011 at 7:05 am #

    Great info here, thanks! I’m looking for a dual alarm clock radio that is able to DIM to the point that I can sleep without a bright display that can wake me up during the night. A display that has a variable dimmer or display turn off would be perfect.
    Thank you, Frank

  7. Lela martinez September 25, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    i need a manual for this rca digtal clock radio I cannot set the alarm it has a dual alarm confused to the max I need to get a manual any idea where i can get this on line maybe. i have a rca dual wake digital am/fm/cd player. thank you lela

  8. Nancy October 2, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    My 83-yr old mom, living alone, was waking up at 9:00pm from a nap thinking it was 9:00am. She would go eat her breakfast cereal and take her morning pills. I won’t go through all the clocks I tried, but I want to say what a perfect solution we finally discovered for my mom so she KNOWS if it is day or night. She does not have to do a thing. She wakes up from her nap and right in front of her on the other side of the room she sees a HUGE display of the time of day with AM/PM, the day of the week and the date. IT HAS CHANGED HER LIFE AND MINE (because I don’t worry anymore). What I am using is a $10 software program called HUGE CLOCK that I loaded on an old unused laptop PC (it only works on PC, not Mac). The time/day shows in HUGE letters on the monitor. It sits on top of a shelf of a bookcase and just keeps on running nonstop without intervention. When I was looking for solutions I came to sites like this one, so I figure other people might benefit from the solution that works for us. Also I have emailed the guy who wrote the HUGE CLOCK program letting him know what a difference he has made. Here’s the website if you want to give it a try.

  9. Ingram Lee November 13, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    Any thoughts as to a clock with a large AM/PM displayMi on-laws can tell time, but can not tell if is morning or not. I can find lots of large displays but not a large am/pm indicator.
    Thanks for your help.

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