Several years ago my in-laws needed a simple remote control for my husband’s grandmother. I told them about this one, which has just six buttons — the power button, a mute button, and the four critical ones: channel up, channel down, volume up and volume down. The large buttons, and the simplicity of the thing made it a logical choice. It runs about fifteen dollars. (Dynamic Living does note on their website that this remote won’t work with cable or satellite boxes, and that it may not work with newer TVs — information you may want for any remote you buy. It won’t matter much if you’re using an older, familiar TV, though.)
Later on, I bought the same one for my dad. It worked well for him, but did not survive his attempt to remove the batteries, which I suspect was less-than-gentle. Nonetheless, it was an excellent remote for the time when figuring such things out was most difficult for my dad — and the buttons were large enough that he didn’t have any trouble pushing them when his fingers were feeling clumsy.
Another option, though a bit more complicated, is this remote from The Alzheimer’s Store. Five buttons can be set to the owner’s five favorite channels, and the different colors for different functions help to distinguish the buttons. It’s around thirty dollars.
Eventually, we bought a new Toshiba TV for my dad and discovered that he was able to use the remote that came with it, though the attrition rate has been high, and I’ve replaced several. Fortunately, I discovered that I could buy replacements for around five dollars at Part Store — I bought four of them so that he didn’t have to wait each time one bit the dust.
The unanswered question, as ever, is this one: it’s fifteen dollars for the six button, thirty for the slightly more complicated model, and five for the OEM Toshiba. It’s not rocket science, the components are cheap,and the technology isn’t expensive, so why are the simpler remotes so much more expensive? (Hint: can you say “disability market”?)