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Looking for best solution/adice for elderly person with sight & memory difficulties


Novice Member
Hi, my first post. Looking for some help/advice. My mum(90) is registered severely partially blind. She has just returned home after 2 months in hospital & a stay in a Rehab unit. As well as visual difficulty she is now experiencing memory problems. Even using a simple zapper remote (on/off, sound & channel buttons only) is proving very difficult as she forgets which buttons to use.
Her TV (not a SMART one) is connected to a Virgin media STB. She had Freeview but had to switch as the signal strength was weak at times, other times OK, advised by aerial guy that large trees close by were the main problem. At a loss to know what to do for the best. Any solution has to be simple to operate and failsafe. Searching for ideas. I've thought about:-
1) is there anyway to improve the Freeview signal strength (that would eliminate the use of the STB) and one less button on her zapper to bother about.
2) Is the voice recognition technology mature and user friendly (very user) enough to offer a viable solution? I've read about using Alexa & Harmony but have concluded there's still a way to go to make it a "Janet & John / easy to use " type solution.
3) is there anything available to pre-programme channels for, let's say, the forthcoming week, so that the TV(STB) automatically switches itself. Recordings wouldn't work as that would be too difficult.
Having spoken to the technical people at RNIB who suggested I try posting something on this forum.
Other than this post, I'm now at a complete loss as to what to do next, short of, leaving the TV switched on permanently with the sound on and on a station that provides the best possible variety of suitable programmes.
Any help/advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance.


Distinguished Member
You don't give any details of your current aerial or the property but assuming there's some latitude for replacing/moving the aerial it could likely be replaced with a more sensitive model in a different location on the property, perhaps on a pole above the trees.

Also, many TVs will now default to the last used input so if the button you're worrying about if the one to swap to the set top box then a different TV may sort it. A different TV may also offer a more sensitive tuner, especially if the current one is an own brand set.


Novice Member
Hi "Endlesswaves" - many thanks for the early response.

The current aerial was fitted about 3 years ago. Are there different models on the market that may help in getting a better reception? Can you suggest the best model.

It is a fairly large terraced house. The street slopes downwards making it lower than the main road level 250 yards away where the trees are situated. Gut feel says the pole would have to be sizeable - unsure if it could be done.

The zapper is a universal multifunctional remote, the top right button control the STB the left button the TV. I could place a "cover" over it and block her accidentally pressing it. I've already done the same for the "input" TV button.

Its a SAMSUNG TV about 6 year old, so not old / but not new. Do you mean the more modern ones offer a better signal reception performance? If yes, could you say which specific make or model? Only looking for a max of 31/32inch.

Thanks again for you input

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