Advice on Sonos + senior w/early dementia

  • 12 February 2019
  • 5 replies

I do computer support. I have a senior with dementia. He handed me his Sonos remote and told me to connect it to his new computer dropped off at the shop. He told me he needs new speakers, the old ones are "tinny" he says. He says he wants 3 speakers.

I have not yet seen the speakers he has at home. I have two questions because my customer may not be able to answer for himself.

1. Is it possible he really doesn't need new speakers?
2. I generally try to keep seniors on the same exact item they know but I"m wondering if the new speaker setup would actually help him as I see it is voice activated.

Customer frequently can't remember things which would include a new process. I know he upgraded his Mac to a Windows 10 machine. I know Sonos should be configured through the network, just another example of how he doesn't understand things.

Any thoughts on whether he really needs new speakers (assuming he didn't blow them up) or whether this device is modern enough for windows 10 or whether new system would be simpler for him? The technician will configure it all, I am like the project manager, I just want to be sure I have the right parts and solution in place for an 87 year old with dementia. He has budget for new equipment, but no reason to suggest it if it's not necessary.

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5 replies

I believe that the remote is a CR-200. Which should still work. The CR-100 doesn't, however. See this thread from a year ago:

Sonos no longer makes a dedicated remote. In order to set up new speakers, you have to have either a current OS tablet or phone. See supported OS . You could potentially set up a cheap amazon tablet to function in much the same way as that CR-200, though. You can no longer set up new speakers using a desktop machine. See

Once the speakers are set up, you can use a desktop controller to add and play music, you just can't set up new speakers with a desktop machine.

So, yes, it's possible he doesn't need new speakers. It's also extremely likely that they haven't been 'updated' in a long time. It might be worth a visit to the home to see if they do indeed sound "tinny" or not. Generally speaking, even if they haven't been updated, they should sound pretty much the same as when they were originally installed, it might be more likely that his hearing is going. There may be an advantage to moving the speakers around in his home, to get them closer to where he's listening, one of the benefits of a "wireless" speaker.

There's a lot of versatility in a Sonos system. So he may be better off with a PLAY:5, rather than a PLAY:1, for instance. It has better bass associated with it, and the physical mass may have some psychological assistance with his perception.

But I think you may be best served by having someone visit his home, and doing some critical analysis.
Thank you very much for your thoughtful reply and links. We are planning on visiting the home in a couple of days but wanted to do some pre work first as the customer is a challenge and just dumped all this on me today. I very much appreciate your insights.
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Mom has issues with her Play 1, she thinks it sounds terrible. The actual issue is her hearing aids that are adding back in the high frequency sounds she is not used to hearing. After failing to explain this to her several times I turned the treble control all the way down and now she thinks they sound much better.

If you have an acceptable Apple device you can do some advanced tuning, TruePlay, on his speakers that will get them as well matched to his room as possible.

Shoot for a solution that makes him happy, not the "correct" solution and life will be easier.
Thank you and I totally agree that the best solution is the one the customer is happy with!!! More good thoughts on sound and my customer does have a hearing aid!!! I didn't even think to mention that. But I didn't think he needed to invest $500 in new speakers either!

He had this configured on an iMac and someone convinced him to buy a Dell. I'm fighting an uphill battle already. I'd had left him on the familiar platform. He was oversold the wrong thing and I'm batting cleanup.
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Remember the old Dell commercial, "Dude your're getting a Dell!" After the changes in Dell the last few years I reworded that a bit for folks I support: "Bend over dude, your're getting a Dell!"

I don't envy you helping with the switch from Mac to Windows, I transitioned mom (at 90) from Windows to Linux (OpenSuse) and it was a bit of a rough transition but she can work Linux and she was struggling with Windows.