Posted at December 29, 2012 by Tom Murray in Clocks

What are Radio Controlled Clocks?

Radio Controlled Clocks are the most accurate time-keeping clocks that are available in the UK.

Atomic Accuracy

Some radio controlled clocks are incorrectly sold as "atomic" clocks. Radio controlled clocks are not atomic clocks themselves, however, they constantly receive a radio signal that corrects any small discrepancies in their current time, this radio signal is provided by an atomic clock.

There are many time reference centres located around the world, each with their own atomic clock. Every clock sold in the UK is programmed to receive a signal from our time reference centre that is located at the NPL (National Physical Laboratory) centre in Anthorn, Cumbria.

The atomic clock at the NPL centre was recently proved to the the most accurate clock in the world; with accuracy of less than 1 second gained or lost every 138 million years(1).

Limitations of Radio Controlled Clocks

To receive a time update from the NPL centre your clock must receive the radio signal, & whilst the signal from Anthorn in Cumbria covers 100% of the UK there are certain factors that can effect your radio reception;

  • Always consult your clocks manual for instructions on how to initially set-up your clock
  • Ensure that you are powering the clock as per the manufacturers instructions, also make sure that any power supplies (such as batteries) are replaced before becoming depleted
  • The locality of your clock to other electrical equipment, or large metal objects in the vicinity, can also decrease the strength of the signal received

For a full list of Common Radio Controlled Clock Problems, visit the NPL information page.

Benefits for a person with Alzheimer's & Dementia

These clocks can be very effective for people with Alzheimer's & dementia, as knowing the correct time is very important for anyone who has impaired memory:

  • Someone with Alzheimer's & dementia may become stressed or upset if they realise that clocks are displaying different times around the home, as they will not know what is the correct time or day
  • An incorrect time on a clock may also take longer to identify (and correct) in a home where impaired memory is a problem
  • Many people with Alzheimer's & dementia also struggle to manually adjust clocks, this can lead to increased stress and discomfort

Benefits for the Carer

Having a reliable calendar clock that you know will always be accurate can be a great benefit for anyone who is caring for someone with Alzheimer's & dementia.

Carers already have an exceptionally high workload, without the need to fix & update clocks & other technical equipment around the home.

Knowing that your loved one has a correct & reliable clock can help decrease the worry associated with a loved one forgetting appointments, taking medication, or getting confused as to the current day.

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