How to Use DVDs and Television as Tools for Caring for your Loved One with Dementia
Television Programming Helps Both Patients and Caregivers
By the staff of the French Center for Alzheimer's Disease, and sponsored by Lake Solitude Media, LLC, the producers of a series of calming and relaxing DVDs.
Do you realize that you have a versatile and therapeutic dementia caregiving tool – and that it’s probably sitting in the middle of your living room right now? It’s the ubiquitous television set, which can actually be a valuable activity resource and provide a variety of benefits for men and women with dementing illness.
In the Alzheimer community, television is most often prescribed because of its benefit to caregivers – it provides them with a needed break, or respite, when the patient is watching a program. While this is true, the medium is even more important as a care tool that can promote the health and well-being of dementia patients themselves.
The prudent and supervised use of television can entertain and amuse a patient, spark memories and reminiscing, orient the individual to time and season, and provide creative and physical outlets. In addition, the TV can assist a caregiver in managing a patient’s difficult or repetitive behavior; for example, watching a program may be effective in calming or redirecting someone who is angry, agitated or prone to wander.
“Watching TV has become a routine behavior that remains relatively intact in our long-term memory, so most patients will look at television – even if just for a short time,” says Tricia Winklowsky, French Center Director of Activities.
“Radio, records and audiotapes cannot offer the same benefits as TV, because they do not hold the same level of interest. It’s television‘s visual element that is helpful in keeping someone engaged and stimulated.”
What to Watch?
The use of television should reflect the patient’s stage of illness, abilities (eyesight and hearing) and personal preferences. Patients with mild dementia (continue)