Clocks love to remind us that we aren’t getting any younger. As much as I’d love to throw them all in the trash and live in a blissful, time-free limbo, I know just how important they really are.
My clock in the office reminds me when it’s time to take my medication. My clock in the living room reminds me when my favorite show is about to start. And my clock in the bedroom reminds me that I can’t afford to sleep for another two hours. I didn’t grow up with a cellphone to remind me of these important moments and I find it takes too long to set an alarm on them anyway.
Chances are, you feel the same as me or you have an older family member who does. That’s why I’ve taken the time to put together this comprehensive guide to buying the best clocks for seniors, the elderly, and aging adults.
We’ll take a look at a few different clock features and what “makes them tick”. After that, we’ll dive into a list of the best digital and analog clocks on the market today. I’m confident you’ll find a clock on this list that’s perfect for you or that elderly loved one in your life.
Clock Features That Are Important for Aging Adults to Consider
Let’s begin by looking at 5 important considerations when shopping for a new clock.
1. Analog vs Digital
The world is divided into two groups. The people who prefer analog clocks and the people who prefer digital clocks. In truth, they both have their advantages. I prefer to use a mix of both throughout my home.
Analog clocks are more common hanging on the wall in kitchens and living rooms. You don’t need to change the batteries as often and they rarely clash with the décor.
Digital clocks are slightly better on tables where you can easily reach them to set alarms. Digital clocks also tend to have extra features built-in like FM radio or even a calendar display. Think about where your clock is going to be placed and what exactly you need it to do. Maybe you prefer a clock radio over a traditional digital clock.
2. Number Size
One of the main reasons I prefer looking at a clock rather than my phone is that I don’t have to squint to see the numbers. Of course, this advantage goes right out the window if you buy a clock with small numbers.
Even worse is a clock that uses some strange symbols or pictures in place of the numbers. Those might make for an interesting piece of art, but they are useless when it comes to telling time. By the time I’ve gone through the mental gymnastics of figuring out the time I’ve already missed tomorrow’s weather forecast. And I’m certainly not going to wait around for the 11 o’clock news to watch it again.
Whether you’re buying this clock for yourself or an elderly family member, do everyone a favor and be sure there are actual numbers and they are large enough to read from across the room.
The size and style of the numbers isn’t the only element that affects the visibility. If you’re purchasing an analog clock, then you need to consider the color contrast and the size of the clock’s hands. You really can’t go wrong with standard black numbers on a white background.
But if you’re really interested in something more colorful, then you need to be certain that the contrast between the numbers and the background is noticeable enough from a distance. I’ve had to throw away several clocks because the colors seemed to blend together once I sat down in my chair.
It’s also important to make sure that the hour, minute, and second hand are also easily identifiable. You don’t want someone to accidentally take medicine at 12:15 because it looks like 3:00.
Finally, if you’re investing in a digital clock, then the backlight and colors need to be bright enough to see at all times.
4. Ease of Use
Never forget that there’s a reason your elderly family is using a clock instead of a phone. They don’t want to deal with tiny buttons, hidden knobs, and confusing touch-screen commands.
A clock should always be a simple and straightforward device to use. You should be able to adjust the time quickly enough that you’re not starting off a minute behind. When it comes to analog clocks, you can’t go wrong with a large dial on the back and a space for the batteries. You don’t really need more than that.
Digital clocks do tend to have a few more features, but even so, the knobs and buttons should be sufficiently large, and setting the time should be intuitive. Nobody wants to read a manual to know how to set their alarm.
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For some people, this might not be a concern at all. For others, it’s going to be the first thing they look at.
It’s a good idea to consider the décor of the room if you’re buying this clock as a gift for someone else. You don’t want to assume they are from the first group only to learn that they are from the latter.
If you’re buying the clock for yourself, then you already know whether or not décor is important to you. That means you can completely ignore the style of the clock if you want or be certain you buy one that complements the color scheme of the room. There are certainly enough clocks on the market that you will always be able to find one that fits your style.
Now it’s time to look at some of the best clocks available for elderly customers.
The 4 Best Analog Clocks For Seniors
This clock checks all of the boxes in the analog category. It has large numbers, great visibility, it’s easy to set the time, and the simple color pattern will blend well with any room.
It’s almost as if this clock was designed specifically with seniors in mind. Despite being significantly large, it is actually lightweight and completely silent. If you hate hearing the constant “tick-tock” of analog clocks, then this is a great choice.
The overall visibility of the numbers and hands makes this an excellent selection. Each number is has a 1.5″ stereoscopic design. This means that they are large enough to see from across the room and they have a slight 3D appearance, which increases visibility further.
It’s also designed to be dustproof and waterproof, which means you won’t need to spend much time cleaning and when you do the water won’t damage it.
One disadvantage that traditional analog clocks face is a lack of visibility in low light conditions. This large Jomparis wall clock uses a night light function to overcome this obstacle. This makes it a great option even for the bedroom where you’ll be checking the time in the middle of the night without much light. When the nightlight is activated, the numbers glow a bright green to easily stand out at all hours of the night.
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During the day, the numbers and hands remain perfectly visible due to their large size. The numbers aren’t stereoscopic like with the Dreamsky clock, but they are sufficiently large to be readable on the other side of the room. It’s also incredibly easy to use and set with the time with only a single AA battery and a simple dial for adjusting the time.
This particular clock also shines in terms of design. It has a rustic, wooden background and bold, while numbers. It’s stylistic enough to look great, yet it won’t clash with most décor themes. It also lacks an outer glass cover, which gives it a surprisingly sleek appearance.
As we get older, we tend to realize that bigger is always better. Bigger clocks mean bigger numbers and bigger hands. That means it’s easier to read whether you’re sitting in the chair or standing at the edge of the room. This clock from Bernhard is 16 inches in diameter with extra-large numbers. That means you can tell the time from this clock even if you’re standing in a different room entirely.
This clock comes from Bernhard, which is a quality brand that is known for its home and kitchen products. It’s surprisingly lightweight and has a hanging clip built into the back. You can easily hang it on a small wall hook without needing to damage your walls with screws or nails. It’s also completely silent and features a classic black and white design that will blend well with any room.
So far, all of the analog clocks we’ve covered have been hanging wall clocks. But what if you want an analog clock by your bed for an alarm? That’s where this bad boy comes into play. It’s fairly small, which means you won’t be able to see it from across the room, but the numbers are large enough that you can see it from your bed if the table is nearby. As a matter of fact, it’s produced by the brand Magnifying Aids and they specialize in creating products for customers with low vision.
On the top of the clock is a large button that is easy to see and press. If you press that button it will read the time to you in a loud voice. This is perfect if you need glasses to see but still want to know the time while you’re in bed. The clock face features a retro color scheme that is reminiscent of what you might see on The Jetsons. Overall, it’s a great bedroom alarm for seniors with visibility problems.
The 4 Best Digital Clocks For Seniors
Digital clocks certainly have their advantages if you’re willing to overcome a few technical hurdles. In the case of this particular clock, the advantage is that it displays the day of the week along with the month, date, and year. This information is presented in bold, white letters on a black background. It’s another great clock that was clearly designed with seniors in mind.
Unlike the majority of clocks on this list, this particular model does not require batteries. It is powered entirely with an AC adapter plugged into the wall. You’ll never have to worry about finding batteries or fumbling to squeeze them in properly.
The only disadvantage is that it will need to be placed on a table that is sufficiently close to an electrical outlet. You certainly won’t want to use it as a wall clock with the cord visible and hanging.
We understand that not every senior is reluctant to use more advanced technology. That’s why we decided to include this oversized wall clock from Chkosda that is packed with interesting features.
The overall clock is roughly 18-inches long and 6.5-inches tall. The numbers themselves are 6 inches tall, which means you can read this clock from the kitchen even if you’re standing on the front lawn. It will definitely require adequate space on the wall and it’s going to grab everyone’s attention when they enter the room.
This is a great option even if you’re just interested in the clock aspect. It uses a remote control to set the time and activate the features. Those features include the ability to switch between 12hr and 24hr format, countdown timers, calendar mode, alarm setting, and even a thermostat.
With this clock, you’ll be able to tell if the kids adjusted the thermostat without ever leaving the chair.
Here we have a digital clock that’s even longer at a total of 22 inches wide, but the numbers themselves are actually smaller. This digital clock has numbers that are 3 inches tall, which is still more than large enough to be visible from anywhere in the room. The reason the numbers are smaller is that the clock always displays the day of the week, the month, and the date beneath the time.
This clock lacks the remote control function of the Chkosda clock but is luckily easy to set up. The good news is that it has an internal memory feature. Even if the clock loses power it will be able to set itself automatically the next time is powered on. If you’re buying this for an elderly family member, then we recommend taking the time to help them set it the first time.
Having big numbers doesn’t always mean you need a massive clock. And having a digital clock doesn’t always mean it needs to come with a ton of features. If you prefer a simple, compact digital clock with large numbers, then this is a great option. It comes from a brand that most of us are familiar with and it is designed with simplicity as its key feature.
This is a table-side alarm clock that is great for setting beside the bed but can easily be used in any room where you might require an alarm. The numbers are just shy of 2 inches tall, which is almost as large as the biggest clock we’ve featured on this list. Meanwhile, the entire device fits in a package of 8″x3″.
The best part is that using is this clock is extremely simple. You have buttons for setting the time, for controlling the alarm, and for adjusting the volume. That’s all there is to it.
A Clock For Every Room
With these 8 great options, you can find a different clock for every room and each one will get the job done. Of course, you’re probably only shopping for a single clock at this particular time. Remember to consider important qualities like visibility, ease of use, and clock placement when considering your purchase!