TV in dementia unit

  1. I work in a retirement home on a locked unit. The activities department is mediocre to say the least, and a lot of our residents spend a great deal of time each day sitting in their rooms or in the hall not doing much. There are a couple of activity-style rooms with nice tvs, and I like to keep movies playing or the news on so that the residents passing by will go in, be entertained, keep their imaginations active, and feel like they are in a more social setting with the other residents. I also think that just the noise helps, b/c it is such a quiet floor. However, the other morning I had the news on, and our administrator asked me if I could turn the tvs off if nobody was watching, b/c he didn't like the idea of family members thinking we supported them watching tv all the time. Maybe if we had a real activities dept. they wouldn't have to watch tv a lot......but I've found that visiting family members usually smile when they hear me inviting residents to come into the activities room, watch national geographic and have some popcorn. I have to admit I kept "accidentally" keeping the tvs turned on that day. I just can't bring myself to leave no opportunity for the residents to mingle and be connected to the world outside them in order to keep up appearances. What do you think? Tv or no Tv?
    •  
  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   fultzymom
    We have a TV room on our dementia unit. We usually keep it on TV Land because that is the shows that a lot of our patients watch. We also use the gospel channel a lot, have a movie night with pop corn and drinks. It is not however the only activity that we provide. We have an activity person for 12 hours a day to do different activities with them.
  4. by   wooh
    As long as it's not the ONLY activity, I think tv is great. Especially when it's on TV Land or something that they remember and like. I used to turn the tv on in the morning when I worked in a locked unit. Kept those I'd gotten dressed occupied while I got the rest of the unit dressed. They loved Gilligan's Island. They'd laugh and laugh and laugh.
  5. by   KateAA
    Sometimes we forget that the residents did enjoy TV when they were living at home. Heck how many of us are watching "Dancing with the Stars" or "Survivor"? Many people enjoy watching TV and we can't continue to think of it as evil. You are doing a great job providing the residents with a moment of memories. Maybe getting a DVD player would help and then you could have some old TV programs that residents remember. It's all about bringing those memories forward, even for a moment. I would ask some of the families about what programs their loved ones liked. Good Job!
  6. by   HM2VikingRN
    I think keeping people engaged in their environment is especially important for mental health. Anything that you can do or try to reduce anxiety and agitation will be beneficial.
  7. by   wooh
    Quote from KateAA
    Sometimes we forget that the residents did enjoy TV when they were living at home. Heck how many of us are watching "Dancing with the Stars" or "Survivor"? Many people enjoy watching TV and we can't continue to think of it as evil. You are doing a great job providing the residents with a moment of memories. Maybe getting a DVD player would help and then you could have some old TV programs that residents remember. It's all about bringing those memories forward, even for a moment. I would ask some of the families about what programs their loved ones liked. Good Job!
    Oh my goodness yes! When I'm old and in the nursing home: Don't make me wear a bra. Let me sleep in. And let me watch tv!!!
  8. by   HeatherB,CST
    Oh, and don't forget...PBS reruns the Lawrence Welk Show! My grandparents never miss it on Saturday evenings. Plus all the oldsters I know can't get enough of the Larry King, for some reason LOL
  9. by   marjoriemac
    My residents love the tv, you have to remember most of them would sit in front of the tv for hours if they were at home. They often show interest in the news and on naff chat shows (kind of like jerry springer) as well as soaps and game shows. We have other activities too. I think it is important though to have a quiet lounge as well away from the noise of tv and since some residents are quite deaf, the tv can be noisy.
  10. by   Fuzzy
    Boy I hope that I'm not placed in your unit. Sitting around and staring at the walls for hours would drive me crazy...not to mention the locked ward part of the picture. At least TV adds some atmosphere to the unit by adding some noise. Plus these folks might even find something to talk about by watching some of the old programs, weather, and the news. After all these people might be elderly with dementia which doesn't mean that they are dead. Maybe your administrater should spend a couple of days on your unit. I'll bet that the boredom and silence would drive him to dementia.

    Fuzzy,
    Who takes a nice therapy dog and cat to a dementia unit twice a month. Now that gets the people interacting. The stories maybe the same but who cares. I'm glad that you are caring for your patients wellbeing Lilybean. That makes you a wonderful person.
  11. by   prowlingMA
    Dementia units I have worked on have said NOT to watch the news, because it will upset the residents. I really liked to put in the videos we had of the " I Love LUcy" show. They would laugh and laugh. It was so fun to see them really smile and laugh at something that was on their level.
  12. by   CapeCodMermaid
    We don't leave the TV on in the dementia unit. It usually is too noisy and only aggrevates the residents. We play old movies for them which most of the time they don't pay attention to. Their attention span isn't very long and they don't become involved in the movie....we play a lot of musicals. Today they were sitting in the room looking at The King and I. Not a smile or a toe tap or anything. I went in and did my Deborah Kerr imitation. Every one of them stopped to listen...they smiled, tapped their toes and applauded. As soon as I stopped singing, they ignored the movie and just sat again. Personal interaction is always the better choice.
  13. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from lilybean
    I work in a retirement home on a locked unit. The activities department is mediocre to say the least, and a lot of our residents spend a great deal of time each day sitting in their rooms or in the hall not doing much. There are a couple of activity-style rooms with nice tvs, and I like to keep movies playing or the news on so that the residents passing by will go in, be entertained, keep their imaginations active, and feel like they are in a more social setting with the other residents. I also think that just the noise helps, b/c it is such a quiet floor. However, the other morning I had the news on, and our administrator asked me if I could turn the tvs off if nobody was watching, b/c he didn't like the idea of family members thinking we supported them watching tv all the time. Maybe if we had a real activities dept. they wouldn't have to watch tv a lot......but I've found that visiting family members usually smile when they hear me inviting residents to come into the activities room, watch national geographic and have some popcorn. I have to admit I kept "accidentally" keeping the tvs turned on that day. I just can't bring myself to leave no opportunity for the residents to mingle and be connected to the world outside them in order to keep up appearances. What do you think? Tv or no Tv?
    I believe that quiet is the dementia resident's friend.The noisier the floors get at our LTC the more the residents become agitated. We do have several sitting rooms on each unit and we also keep the tv's on (not too loud) and use alot of dvd's.Our residents like musicals and old shows like "I love Lucy" (I'll never forget the day one of my friends came out of the lounge and was looking for her friend"Lucy" because they were baking bread together...) As for your administrator-if he is like mine all he wants to hear is" yes,sir-whatever you say,sir"...NOT interested in anyone's opinion unless it agrees with his.If yours is a more approachable and caring person you could explain that your residents enjoy the tv and you make sure your resident's families know where the unit's activities schedule is and are aware of what the days' routine consists of...
  14. by   amanda1229
    On our locked unit, it's considered "low-stimulation," so I often got chewed out for having some of the TVs on at night when everyone was in bed. I'd turn off a few, but some I had to leave on all night -- these residents are the ones who told me they'd fall asleep every night with the TV on! I'm the same way, just because it's just low-stim doesn't mean they can't have a life like they used to -- the life they used to have is the one they're often living on the unit! I just close the door a bit to make sure the other residents can sleep.

    When I turn the TVs on, I like to make sure it might be like they used to, though. We don't have a TV room on the locked unit, so I'll get blankets and a snack for the residents, sit them in their chairs, and turn on the TV. And tune it to a station like TV Land, of course, or TCM (Turner Classic Movies, or whatever). And sit along and laugh with them, just like they might have long ago.

    Some other ideas for activities you can do, if your activity program is mediocre at best:

    * Singing or music. Some of our residents love to sing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Show_Me_the_Way_to_Go_Home This is the theme song for our locked unit. Get them in a big circle and sing some old songs, or songs that we all know (Jesus Loves Me, You Are My Sunshine). They may sing at five different paces, but they'll just light up.
    * Looking through magazines. I thought residents would get bored, but it sparks a lot of stories. Especially if you start them. IE: Ooh a pretty wedding dress, what was your wedding like? What did your husband do? How long were you married? And some of them will love to see pictures of farms since most of them were raised there.
    * Puzzles. Puzzles with pieces are fun for the more focused resident. For instance, we have a few dementia residents that will retain a fair amount of their memory for a day or so, and they have far more capacity for putting together 100 or 200 pieces than the average dementia resident. I also brought in a puzzle book with differences between two pictures one night (to keep me awake on third shift!) and I just gave it to one of my residents, she loved it -- albeit she picked out the same ones over and over again.
    * Kickball. Great for exercise, too. Put all your residents in a circle sitting down, buy a nice-size ball and kick it. You'd be surprised at how active some of the residents get. The combative ones will get their mini-workout if you're lucky.
    * Nail care and massages. Some of the more patient females will love a little manicure with nail polish and everything, and it might also spark some stories. I love when all the little ladies on my unit have their nails painted. Plus, this activity is so cheap, one bottle goes a long way. We also buy bottles of lotion and give some of the residents hand, neck, or arm massages at night in the dining room before they go to bed.
    * Outside visit. I don't know if your unit has a little deck (maybe they all do, I don't know), but some of our residents absolutely love to just be outside. Just to sit out in the breeze once in a while is like a dream to them. Just make sure that you don't make the same mistake a stupid aide here once did and let them out alone: two residents flagged down a car and had someone buy them cigarettes and coffee.
    * "Handy work" activities. We have a resident that used to be on a farm, like many, but this guy will just wander the halls in his geri chair and find the smallest details and "work" on them. He gets combative at nights but he'll just stop if he finds a screw in the wall -- he'll have to "work" on it. One day they brought blocks, Legos, and some other connecting toys and he just goes to town on those. It keeps him busy, interested, and calm. If you have any "handymen" it works perfectly.

    I hope some of these might work for you. I love working on my CCDU because I get to do these activities and, as Jolene Brackey says, help the resident "find their greatness." It really is so rewarding! Good luck.

close