Innovation for Independence

Digital TV channel for people with dementia

Image of television
Publish date:
05/11/2014 - 11:03am
Last updated:
05/11/2014 - 11:03am
Author:
Helen J Bate

When people have dementia, television becomes increasingly difficult for them to enjoy. The complexity, fast pace and type of content means that those who have mid to later stage dementia can no longer engage with it in any meaningful way. This does not mean however, that this is how it has to be. People with later stage dementia are still able to enjoy screen based visual media if it's designed and presented in a suitable way. They may still be interested in a very wide variety of subjects; gardening, cooking, fashion, sports, dancing, music, poetry, religion, art, etc etc. But these topics have to be presented in a way that is easy to engage with. We provide a wealth of television that is designed to be accessible to children from a young age, but we don't provide anything that is designed to be suitable for people with dementia who are extremely isolated in terms of their social interaction and participation in the 'normal' things of life. Every day, many thousands of people with dementia living in care homes have to sit in front of television programmes that are at best incomprehensible, and at worst distressing for them. This is not because it is not possible to provide suitable programmes, but because nobody has created them in a way that is available to all.

Insight & Impact

As a visual communications specialist in the field of dementia, I have produced 2 short films on DVD suitable for people with mid to later stage dementia. These are used in care homes and by people at home. This experience has proved that people with dementia can still engage with screen media of it's designed and produced in the right way. The number of people with dementia is growing and there is a large number of people living in care homes with dementia. The majority of these people are from a generation that has watched many hours of television and TV has been a big part of their lives. To exclude them from this activity because they have dementia is unnecessary and cruel. They often have very little that they can still engage with and enjoy when they are in the later stages of dementia, and so there is massive potential for improving their lives by providing an accessible televison channel that's available 24 hours a day.

Skills needed for this project

  • Skills in digital TV progamming
  • Skills in video production

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Comments

finnwoodhill's picture
Sent you an email via this website - let me know if it didn't get through. Would like to discuss the idea.
Anette Olsen's picture
This is a very interesting idea. I am my self working on a project of establishing a tv-channel for people with dementia and people with cognitive disabilities with content that is taylored for their needs and abilities. I am researching on what has been done in other countries. To my knowledge not a lot of scientific research exists in the field of the effects of tv-watching for people with dementia, but as Helen points out, tv often has been a big part in the lives of especially elderly people with dementia (elderly people watch more than 4 hours of tv daily here in Denmark), so it is a large target group that needs a special kind of television content. If it is possible, I'd like to purchase a copy of your films?
Heen Bate's picture
Good to hear someone is working on this in Denmark. Our films are available with international delivery at www.picturestoshare.co.uk Contact me at helen@picturestoshare.co.uk if there is any problem.
adam phillips's picture
Hi Helen It's great to see you have been putting effort into this. It seems that it is the right time for this to happen. It's funny, I have been thinking about this for a few months and only now looked to see if the idea had seeded elsewhere? Seemingly it has! In several places. I look forward for any opportunity to be involved in this project and would love to hear more of your progress toward realising it. Please contact me at your convenience. Kind Regards, Adam.
adam phillips's picture
This surely has to be done !! I have spent the last year working as a Physiotherapy Assistant and prior to that was studying Physiotherapy. I have spent several years now working with elderly people suffering Dementia. I have many ideas and thoughts on what might be useful and or interesting/engaging for such a TV channel and would welcome the opportunity to discuss this further with anyone. I feel numerous Organisations could be engaged in the project and the benefits could be felt by not only those with Dementia but also by the families, friends and indeed the community at large. I have knowledge in fundraising for charitable causes which could be useful in helping get this idea off the ground. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.