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It certainly depends on the level of dementia. I suppose that some people are able to understand how a tv and DVR work and recall enough to know how to turn it on, press play, etc. I just don't have much experience with people who can do that except for the early stages.
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My parent had bought a small TV that had a built in DVD player... all they needed to do was turn on the TV, pop in the DVD, and it automatically would start playing.
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Thankyou for your answers. Mum is losing the skills needed to operate her cd player and dvd player. I think the answer is that someone turns it on and off for her.
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You can try and see what works, but I wouldn't have too high expectations. I tried several things with my cousin. I found her a very basic tv remote, a very bacic CD player and a very basic radio. She managed them all at first, but very soon she was not able to use them. They just sat untouched.

She just didn't have the ability to comprehend what they were or how to use them. She likes listening to music, but doesn't have the initiative to seek it out or turn on a radio.

I do think it's beneficial if someone can be there to turn on the device. Some dementia patients may enjoy watching a movie or tv show, but depending on their level of progression, may not get much from them. It just doesn't keep their attention. But, I do play short videos of musical acts for my cousin. I think some people think it helps stimulate their minds to play old tv shows, old movies or family videos. It depends on how they react to it.

So, yes, you can find a basic, easy to play DVD player, but, no matter how basic, it's not likely the dementia patient will learn how to use it and have the initiative to use it by themselves.
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If the dementia is getting to the mid stages there's not much out there in the way of electronics that works. My Dad used to use a computer, a CD player and an iPod with ear phones. Now, the phone and tv remote are difficult for him. Learning new things is impossible.

My only suggestion is a simple CD player that a caregiver can operate for the elder.
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