Enjoying Movies and TV with those Affected by Alzheimer’s

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Seniors affected by Alzheimer’s are most comfortable with familiar surroundings and an upbeat environment. Their attention span becomes shorter, so keeping them entertained is challenging.  It is only logical that optimistic movies and television shows with familiar themes, actors and characters are the best viewing choices.

Some movies can bring back memories of the past, and even help seniors engage in conversation or get in a better mood.  Studies have found that musicals and TV shows with music are the most recommended by caregivers and families because of how well they are enjoyed by Alzheimer’s patients.

Ideal shows have the following similarities:

  • They are upbeat, stress-free, entertaining and non-violent, and do not deal with sickness or death
  • They are under two hours long
  • There are just a few characters and a simple plot
  • They are wholesome and suitable for all ages
  • Music is an often an important element; many patients retain musical memories

Other types of movies and television shows are not as well suited.  Cartoons can be thought of as insulting or juvenile, even though patients’ cognitive abilities are decreasing.  Scary images, risqué situations and a lot of dialogue can be disturbing or agitating.

Here are some of the movies and television shows that are most often recommended for those with Alzheimers:


Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Guys and Dolls

It’s a Wonderful Life

March of the Penguins

The Music Man

My Fair Lady

Paint Your Wagon

Singin’ in the Rain

The Pajama Game

The Sound of Music

The Wizard of Oz

Television Shows


Dancing With the Stars

I Love Lucy

Leave It to Beaver

The Andy Griffith Show

The Lawrence Welk Show

The Waltons

Most of the above movies or TV episodes can be rented through Amazon or another streaming service. The Turner Classic Movies Channel is also a good network for simpler movies that may bring back memories. TV Land, on basic cable, shows classic television series including Bonanza, Gilligan’s Island, Gunsmoke, and The Golden Girls.

The company, Lake Solitude Media, has created a series of short nature videos with such titles as “Magnificent Birds” and “Underwater Wonders” that are designed to be calming and relaxing.  Filled with short scenes of wildlife and landscapes set to pleasant music (but no plot, characters or narration), the videos are especially agreeable for those with Alzheimer’s because they are so simple and hold attention spans.

If you are a caregiver of a senior suffering from Alzheimer’s, watch some of these movies with them and see how they respond.  Chances are, they will be pleased with the experience.  At Home Care Assistance Fort Worth, we love to experience these old shows with our clients.


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