Specialist dementia TV is a wonderful tool to help people living with dementia relax and unwind.
Or a great way to increase engagement and interaction.
Dementia TV is versatile and can be used in many different situations too.
However, not all TV is appropriate for people living with dementia, and some channels and programmes might cause more stress or confusion than enjoyment.
This blog will cover the benefits of dementia TV for your loved one as well as things to avoid when watching the box.
Here’s a summary of what we’ll cover in this blog:
- Dementia TV is great entertainment but it can also be used as background noise for daily tasks, a source of news and information. As well as a point of discussion between family, friends and carers.
- Many shows can be accessed via terrestrial TV and streaming platforms such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon and Netflix. But there are also a number of emerging dementia TV platforms and archives which cater to more specific needs.
- Look for designs that are accessible for the needs of your loved one. This could include larger icons and buttons, voice commands and built in systems.
Do people with dementia still enjoy TV?
For people living with dementia, TV can be both a blessing and a curse.
On one hand it provides the perfect distraction on slow days without much social activity. And you can have it on for company in the background while completing daily tasks.
It also encourages a safe, calm space in which your loved one can sit still and relax. Plus family members or carers can watch television together too.
Is it all good?
On the other hand, TV may become the easy option for many living with dementia who don’t feel motivated to be active in other ways.
Such as taking exercise, listening to music, dementia radio stations or socialising.
As dementia progresses, individuals can also find that TVs can become a bit fiddly and confusing which could cause distress.
Later in this guide, we’ll look at some of the best dementia TV products that improve accessibility when watching TV.
How do you know what to watch?
So when choosing a programme or film, consider these questions to determine its suitability:
- Can it be enjoyed easily, without needing to focus all the time?
- Is it upbeat and entertaining? Is it free from unpleasant imagery, offensive language and violent content?
- Is the plot simple to understand?
- Is it less than 2 hours in length?
- Will it bring happiness and/or laughter?
Answering these questions should provide some general guidelines for dementia TV.
You can experiment with different shows and channels, programming certain channels onto the TV or TV remote.
There are dementia friendly tools that help simplify your remote, such as the Flipper Big Button Remote for Seniors.
This is not to say that a programme that your loved one enjoys must be excluded if it doesn’t adhere to these guidelines.
Popular dementia friendly TV shows in the UK
Here are some popular dementia TV programme suggestions that are available to watch in the UK.
- The Two Ronnies
- Mrs Browns Boys
- Antiques Roadshow
- The Repair Shop
- Fake or fortune
- Dad’s Army
- David Attenborough’s programmes
- Spring/ Autumn/ Winter Watch
You may also want to find reruns of old films from your loved one’s era, or invest in a DVD player if you don’t have one already.
Are there dementia TV streaming platforms?
There are plenty of regular programmes that are suitable for people receiving dementia care which are enjoyed by thousands across the country.
However, there are also some specifically designed or curated programmes and platforms that cater to the different needs of people living with dementia.
Here are some of the most popular:
My Life TV
My Life TV is the first dementia TV streaming service with content curated for the cognitive needs of people living with dementia.
It is designed to support sensory stimulation, connection and mental health as part of the essential care of people with dementia.
What does My Life dementia TV offer?
- Specially produced quizzes
- Music for dementia
- Chair yoga
- Animal & nature programmes
- Feelgood content
- Archive news
- Popular shows from the 1960s & 1970s
My Life TV can be accessed via your TV, tablet, computer, or smartphone.
It is also available on iPhone, Android devices, Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV.
Check out some of the preview dementia TV content and sign up for a free trial here.
Download My Life TV on Amazon here.
BBC Reminiscence Archive
This website from the BBC is a compilation of audio, video and photos deemed suitable for people with dementia.
When you enter the website, choose between theme or decade to access a whole host of media content. Ranging from photos and short video clips to audio, both from BBC content and ordinary life.
The project was created by the BBC with the help of Dr Norman Alm of Dundee University.
He has said that the project’s purpose is to help unlock existing memories through an impersonal archive.
The impersonal archive format is more beneficial than a personal family archive of photos, which can become overwhelming.
Especially if your loved one is unable to remember the images displayed.
How to use dementia TV at home
Once you’ve found some dementia TV programmes or a streaming service that your loved one enjoys, TV can be incorporated into their daily routine.
There are a number of daily activities that can be done around the house which can be accompanied by the TV.
- Daily exercises
- Washing and dressing
- Time with carers or family
This being said, there are times when TV can be more disruptive than good.
Take extra care to avoid allowing your loved one to become overstimulated by the use of television, especially at night.
If your loved one experiences dementia sundowning, it may be best to avoid TV watching entirely in the later part of the day.
The background noise can be overstimulating and cause problems in the evening.
What are the best dementia TV products?
Alongside all the great dementia TV content available on regular TV and online streaming services, there are also a number of excellent products that make watching TV easier for people with dementia.
From dementia TV sets to remote controls designed with dementia needs in mind, these products will help make TV more accessible.
Here’s a selection of the best dementia TV products to use at home:
There aren’t currently any specifically designed dementia TV’s on the market.
However, many TVs are designed with features that make using the TV more accessible.
Providing support for any additional cognitive and sensory needs that may arise as a result of dementia progressing.
These sensory needs may include reduced mobility or coordination of hands and fingers, sight loss, hard of hearing, changes to colour perception and brightness.
Some of the common adaptations that can be made to TVs suitable for people living with dementia include:
- Smart TV function
- Voice command function
- Simpler remote
- Digital tuner
- Screen size, resolution and quality
- Digital shut off timer
Here’s a selection of dementia TVs to try.
Toshiba 32-inch HD Ready, Freeview Play, Smart TV
- Smart TV
- Built in Alexa
- Experience Alexa Home Screen
- Micro dimming
- HD Ready
- Freeview play
- 720p resolution
What the reviews say: Great value for money with lots of good features that are easy to set up and use.
Sharp 50-Inch Android Smart TV
- 50 inch 4K smart Android TV
- Superb Harman Kardon sound
- Freeview HD
- built in Google Assistant
- PVR recording & advanced picture up-scaler technology
- Frameless design
What the reviews say: Has lots of great features and easy to use, overall a good TV.
Samsung 55 Inch Crystal 4K Smart TV (2022)
- Smart TV (2022)
- Airslim Design
- Alexa built in
- Smart TV
- Streaming built In
- Object Tracking Sound
- Contrast Enhancer
- Boundless Screen
- Adjustable Stand
What the reviews say: Everything about this tv is excellent. It’s aesthetically pleasing, the picture is excellent and the features all work well.
Dementia TV Remotes
These universal dementia TV remotes are designed for elderly people who may struggle with a conventional TV remote that has lots of small buttons and unknown features.
Flipper big button remote
Big Button Universal Remote Works with TV, Freeview, and Cable / Satellite.
- Device compatible
- Program up to 25 of your favourite channels
- Lock feature to prevent accidental reprogramming
- On/ off, volume, channels, favourites
TabTime big button remote
- Infrared device compatible
- Power on/off, channel up and down, volume up and down, mute, and customisable ‘function’ button
- Learns directly from your existing TV remote for a complete set up in just minutes.
Memo24 Big button remote in grey
- Infrared device compatible
- Power on/off, Channel up and down, Mute, and Volume up and down.
Alkia Big button remote
- Basic simple easy remote designed for seniors
- No programming, just batteries to use
- Compatible with Samsung LG Toshiba Sony JVC Panasonic Philips Sharp Hitachi Technika TVs.
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