Best Movies and TV Shows for Alzheimer’s Patients

Movies make for great memories. The story, the actors or even the person who watched with us, any of these can be a reason why a particular movie sticks in our memory. When seniors with Alzheimer’s watch a favorite movie or television show, it can stir positive memories and inspire good feelings about the caregivers and loved ones in their lives.

Best Movies & TV Shows for Alzheimer's Patients

Why Movies Are Good for Alzheimer’s

Most of us have a favorite movie or two. What we want to watch can depend on our mood. Understandably, we often associate a film or TV show with the good (or bad) times in our lives.

For people with Alzheimer’s, those links between certain movies and memories are not necessarily lost. In fact, movies can help bring back some of the best memories and even spark conversation. Whether they like black and white films, westerns, musicals or another genre, seniors with Alzheimer’s can benefit from watching movies and TV shows as a regular activity.

Choosing the Right Movie or TV Show

A good movie experience can leave a person with Alzheimer’s in a better mood and more engaged with others. It can also help bridge generations, giving grandparents and grandchildren something to share.

How do you choose the right movie or TV show for a loved one with Alzheimer’s? Generally, it is a good idea to find movies that are:

  • Fun and upbeat
  • Shorter in length (under two hours)
  • Not violent and do not portray serious illness or death
  • Simpler in terms of plot and number of characters

Recommended Viewing for Alzheimer’s Patients

A Place for Mom asked our Facebook fans what movies and television shows their loved ones with Alzheimer’s enjoy. By far, musicals (and any TV shows with music) received the most recommendations. Some favorite actors include Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Doris Day, Elvis Presley and Humphrey Bogart.

Here are the top suggestions on films and TV shows for seniors with Alzheimer’s:

In addition, reality TV shows, like American Idol, American Pickers and Dancing With the Stars were recommended because they are easy to follow, and you do not have to keep up with a running plot. Some people indicate that ambient videos intrigue and calm Alzheimer’s patients. One example, A Fishy DVD, provides the fascinating, colorful and ever-changing view of life in an aquarium.

Finding the Right Movie or TV Show for Someone With Alzheimer’s

If you have trouble finding copies of your loved one’s favorite movies or TV shows, networks like TVLand and Turner Classic Movies offer popular programs and films from past eras. Remember to watch with your senior whenever you can. Sharing the experience can help build new memories, and it will definitely give you something to talk about with your loved one.

What movies or TV shows does the senior in your life enjoy? Please share your insights below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Emily

    My mom loves I love Lucy , she can watch the same shows over and over, and she laughs and laughs like she’s seeing it for the first time! It never gets old. Also any animal movies where the animals do the talking, she finds a riot, we are lucky, I think she justs like to laugh!

  • Sue

    America’s Funniest Home Videos is great and so is The Golden Girls. Mom also used to watch Everybody Loves Raymond.

  • Virginia Gallegos

    For Spanish language individuals. .. Sabado Gigante with Don Francisco on Saturday evening on Univision. 3 hour variety show with music abd comedy.

  • MaryGeake

    Get America’s Funniest Video & it will always make a person laugh. It can be 30 minutes or 1 hour, but it’s fun to see them laugh or just smile!

  • Clarisse1958

    I live near a retired wire walker, we watched utubes’ “best circus video ever”,53 minutes. She engaged and enjoyed it on her own. Then we watched together. she rated the acts, and difficulty of the tricks, ‘that ones’ easy all flash no skill,. etc. We both agreed that male lions are lazy. Now we need to find something in Swedish.
    Yesterday there was an 8 hr tornado watch. We were in lockdon and it was dreary outside. One resident rolled himself across the empty dining room to listen to a London production of wizard of oz, no video just audio. Yeah Harold Arlen songs and You Tube.

  • Marie

    Pink Panther with Steve Martin

  • Joyce

    Mom likes the Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, Mr. Ed, Heartland.

  • SassyCat

    This is so interesting to see, as my supervisor keeps getting on us for putting the voice and american idol on for the residents. I need to show this to her.

  • dzhaughn .

    Celtic Woman was a big hit. Suppose I should try River Dance but what about my feelings?

    With gratitude for the suggestions, I’m off to order videos of the Lerner and Lowe musicals right now. (But West Side Story went poorly; forget about it.)

    Animal Planet’s Too Cute can be good, as long as Mom doesn’t think the puppies are lost outside in the cold. Animal Planet overall has proven too violent much too often. America’s Funniest Home Videos also seems too violent, degrading, and has way too much context switching. (Of course, everyone is different.)

    Andy Griffiths works well. We all loved Carol Burnette in the past, but there is a little too much shrieking; perhaps Ed Sullivan.

    If the fish tank videos work, try watching golf on TV.

  • Sandi Wysz

    Well I have a different story to tell..when mom watches her western movies she acts like the tough gun slinging cowboys that she watches and
    is very rude to me and everyone else I try to get her to watch something else but she just yells and says “Its my house and I’ll watch what I want!”
    No one in the family can stand being around her
    She is 84 and still works as a female barber but is now having difficulty paying her bills. I used to help her with that but I don’t even want to anymore because she acts like a tough rude cowboy with mild Alzheimer’s!!!

    • Shiva X

      Alzheimers symptoms make her agressive.
      Risperidone helps A LOT with that..

  • Jennifer Carr

    Just for laughs, Babies (movie)

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