Movie Night

Why not share an old classic with Grandma?

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating for any family. The responsibilities of acting as a caretaker to a parent, grandparent or other loved one are numerous and pile on as the condition develops. Finding new ways to bond or relax with the person can be difficult as the options become more limited with time. Movies, television and music can do wonders for your loved one’s well-being if the content is right. 

Consider that your loved one will be more susceptible to media that generates some kind of nostalgia. A song you know he’s heard a thousand times before, an Audrey Hepburn film with which she’s obsessed. Think of the kind of media this person would normally consume. If that doesn’t work, try positive media that’s easy to digest. Think American Idol, for example. 

Depending on the time of year, you might be able to use films like It’s a Wonderful Life or play holiday music during the holiday season to help keep your loved one grounded. Music and other atmospheric stimuli can help your loved one understand (to some degree) where he is and what he’s doing.

Music has been known to unlock the minds of individuals suffering with dementia, boosting brain activity. Bear in mind that music of that person’s era might elicit more of a response than something more contemporary. In other words, find a happy medium between Chopin and Diplo. Aim for the Little Richards, the Bobby Darins — maybe even throw in a Monkees or Beatles album. The point is to find music you know will elicit a response. 

Television can trigger a response as well, especially a show that might have some personal connection. Perhaps you have enjoyed watching I Love Lucy with your grandmother as a kid. Playing the same show could help your grandparent respond better than if you watched something else. This same principle can apply to movies. If you know a certain film will elicit some kind of response, pick that over any other option. Response helps stimulate the brain, serving to help your loved one live with dementia. 

Caretaker.com lists entertainment options for your loved one. 

Music

  • The Beatles
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Cole Porter
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Nat King Cole
  • Judy Garland
  • Duke Ellington
  • Benny Goodman
  • Dean Martin

TV Shows

  • I Love Lucy
  • American Idol
  • America’s Got Talent
  • The Honeymooners
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • Anything on TV Land

Movies

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Sound of Music
  • Mary Poppins
  • Anything on Turner Classic Movies
  • West Side Story
  • Singin’ In the Rain
  • It’s A Wonderful Life
  • A Christmas Story