Dementia and Television

Television in the past has received many critics but a recent study conducted by Professor June Andrews of Stirling University shows that people affected by dementia can benefit from watching TV. Those in care homes can be made to feel part of national events and stay socially engaged and at times cope with bereavement by watching TV.

Major events such as national events and sporting competitions along with recognisable theme songs from TV shows can actually calm someone who is agitated. This confirms how music can have a strong positive impact on those who suffer from dementia. Visit our dedicated page for more information on music therapy.

TV's in care homes

As mentioned before, much research has concentrated on finding the negative aspects of watching TV, especially in a care home setting which can lead to no interaction between residents.  Television shouldn’t be seen as an alternative to care and interaction with residents, it should be used as a tool for treatment and focus on the positives. 

The research explains what types of programmes are proven to have benefits on a care home’s residents. For those who used to go to church, but can no longer do so, a TV church service could be a good substitute. Cooking shows are also identified as ideal for interaction as it stimulates the residents to interact and sparks discussions about the show itself. 

Professor Andrews states that TVs retain a special, symbolic significance in care homes, as they are often seen as a source of comfort and continuity between home and care home.

The report also recommends TV is considered as part of the design of care homes, and that assumptions are not made about what people want to watch. TVs should also be accessible with manageable remote control handsets.

It is important to note that television can have benefits on people who suffer from dementia but it can still have some negative effects The key is the quality and relevance of the content on offer.

Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England commented: “This research confirms our view that when used appropriately, television can be used as force for good in the care of older people. Not only does television act as a form of entertainment for people of all ages, which is a core part of feeling happy and oriented, it can also have real benefits if used imaginatively to complement exercise and social interaction activities.​