Background: In ageing population, it is desirable to reduce the impact of cognitive decline on daily life. While various types of dementia-friendly environments have been proposed, the question still remains regarding whether analogue or digital clocks are friendlier for people with dementia. Methods: In clinical practice, we normally use our original clock reading test (10 analogue and 10 digital clocks) to assess patients' ability to read a clock. In the present study, a retrospective medical record survey was conducted. Fifty-five participants who had done the test were identified. The result of the test was compared between analogue and digital clocks. Additionally, to assess specific ability to read analogue clocks, an "analogue-digital gap"was defined as the difference between patients' performance for analogue and digital clocks. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted to detect significant factors associated with reading ability specific to analogue clocks. Results: The analogue clock proved less readable than the digital clock, even after adjusting for MMSE total score (p = 0.003). Multivariate analysis revealed reading ability of the analogue clock was significantly associated with MMSE calculation and clock drawing test (p = 0.009 and 0.040, respectively). Conclusions: In the present study, the digital clock was friendlier than the analogue clock for patients with dementia. Compared to the digital clock, reading analogue clocks might require more widespread cognition, such as working memory and visuospatial processing. While our finding was a general tendency, and individual assessment is necessary, it might help the development of personalized environmental adjustments.
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