A new academic paper published by the Dementia Services Development Centre has concluded that television can bring multiple benefits to care home residents with dementia.
In a review of research on the use of television in care homes, dementia specialist Professor June Andrews and Mark Butler, visiting fellow at Stirling University and director of Dementia Festival of Ideas, conclude that television can have a positive role in supporting people with dementia if used appropriately.
The report offers care home providers practical, evidence-based steps to make greatest use of the benefits of television.
For people without dementia too, Professor Andrews and Mr Butler state that television plays an important role in the quality of life of residents in care settings. As well as contributing to structuring residents’ daily life and giving older people a window and link to the outside world, television can act as a key socialising activity that older people can take part in.
Television allows residents to take part in public events, for example watching sport, or popular programmes, which everyone in the care home environment including staff and visitors can get involved with, reducing the risks of loneliness and social isolation.
The report also finds that the value of television to residents can be maximised by allowing them to explore a specific subject of interest in the privacy of their own room.
Key to all these benefits is the quality and relevance of the content on offer, allowing them to select or enjoy content tailored for their particular needs and preferences whether that is sport, movies or documentaries.
Professor Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England commented: “This research confirms our view that when used appropriately, television can be used as force for good in the care of older people. Not only does television act as a form of entertainment for people of all ages, which is a core part of feeling happy and oriented, it can also have real benefits if used imaginatively to complement exercise and social interaction activities. Care England welcomes further work to raise awareness of these benefits and improve the lives of people in care settings as a result.”
James Tweddle, sales director at Sky Business, also welcomed the report. He said: “Having been a feature in peoples’ homes for over 25 years, we also know the importance of creating a home-from-home environment. Since launching the Sky TV care home package, we have worked with a number of care home providers and have seen first-hand the benefits that high quality entertainment has had on the lives of care home residents across the UK.”