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So, my mom has Alzheimer's. Besides that, she has difficulties walking due to rheumatoid arthritis causing foot deformities (can't be "fixed"), the need for a hip replacement revision surgery (planning for now) & unexplained balance issues. All these combined & she really has no desire to go anywhere (I would like to get her out of the house to a day program at least one day a week for the socialization factor - she resists this idea.) I explain all this so one doesn't wonder WHY getting her to DO something else is easier said than done.

So, she spends most of her waking hours watching TV. As the AD progresses, she's getting more & more frustrated by not being able to "follow" the plot. (I will add that mom never DID have any hobbies, so there is nothing to redirect her toward doing.) Basically, if she's happy watching TV, I'm inclined to let that be.

That being said, does anyone have any experience/suggestions with what types of programs I can tune in for her to watch that she might enjoy that don't leave her frustrated?

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I have this problem as well. What she like one day will upset her the next. I found watching stuff like The Jeffersons and Good Times (where the people do not look like her family) or black and white shows (where her memories are in color) can help. She enjoys Mama's Family to. We have a "schedule" in the evening with Jeffersons, Mama's Family, then Funniest Pets and People. The last on also has little kids asking and answering questions. No matter how many times she sees them, she loves the little kids. Also try just music CD's. A lot of times, watching "Bill Gaither Homecoming Friends" DVD's is good but other times she tries to figure out when she was there but just listening to the music without watching anything helps to calm her. Good luck and God Bless you for your care giving!
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PBS kids. My mother loves "Curious George" and "Wild Kratts" best. She also enjoys several programs from the Litton's Weekend Adventure group of programs, espcially "Jack Hanna's Wild Countdown" and "Ocean Mysteries."
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I have a DVD set of Dr. Quinn that Neola watches over and over, from the premier episode through the two movies. Most of the episodes are 45 minutes. I have to start each episode, so I can't be away for more than 45 minutes at a time. If I need to be away longer than that, I could put on a movie, or a 90 minute episode. She also likes Downton Abbey and Murdoch Mysteries. Sometimes, she likes Bill Gaither. If I have to sit there with her, it's hard to sleep through Dr. Quinn, with all the Indians and cavalry noise, but I can sleep through Bill Gaither and Downton Abbey.
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She might like older variety shows - like Carol Burnett. Something to make her laugh, but stories that only last 5-10 minutes each, so she doesn't have to follow along for a long time with a complicated plot & keep up with lots of characters.
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I used to watch cooking shows with my mom. We also played soothing music, or music she grew up listening too. She also did large print word finds.
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I would say, go with what she used to watch years ago. Personally, about once a year, I call my kids up and remind them that when I am bedridden not to let the caregivers turn on soaps. I hate them, always did and probably always will. LOL. As for my husband, Do-It-Yourself shows work great, we have DVDs on woodworking and shooting that he really likes. I was at a VA hospital several years ago and the Mexican workers would have the telenovas on in every room so they wouldn't miss their soaps as they worked room to room. Here these poor guys were stuck watching soaps in Spanish whether or not they liked them. Gave me the willies.
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All of the above I will say ditto to. When mom was still living at home, tv just frustrated her. She was an avid reader but even that got to be a no go. Their minds just can't follow and the attention span is nil. At my mom's facility, they bring in musicians, choirs, and watch all the old westerns, I love lucy, etc. The ones that can will watch, those that can't sleep or day dream. I'm afraid it's just a progression of the disease. My mom loved sitting outside even in the scorching Texas heat. I could stay out for about 5 min. then tell her I would have to go back inside. When she moved to the facility, I would wheel her out to the front so she could see the cars go by but even that kind of threw her off. Luckily the facility has an enclosed quiet garden area so weather permitting we can go out there. Texas has weird weather......one day cold with ice, the next 80 degrees. Never know what you're going to get (as in a box of chocolates:). Hope these suggestions help. Good luck and God Bless
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Depending on her tastes - nature shows, musicals/operas, some reality TV might be ok as it usually deals in the moment (like a single challenge in Survivor or doing some task on Amazing Race) but may get her heart racing, maybe some sitcoms. Anything is better than what my father prefers to watch - those horrible dramas about murder and rape.
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Keep away from anything suspenceful as that will agitate her. Also be care full with some of the animal shows as they can get quite gruesome
Would she take to such things as "How it's made' and some of the home improvement shows. Maybe make some short videos yourself when you are out.
A church service, ducks on the pond, a craft show as you walk round,a visit to the museum. Just regular everyday things. Even go to the senior center and film the activities there.
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If she's in her 80's, then try westerns. They have a simple plot, you know the ending, and there are usually in black and white. My husband cannot get enough of westerns. He loves "Cheyenne" so much, I wrote Clint Walker (on his website to tell him how much John loves his show. Mr. Walker was gracious enough to send him a personal note with his photo (they are the same age). Wasn't that super? He reads and re-reads it every day when he passes the photo. What a lovely man...Also, stick with history she would remember (WWII, the old Hollywood actors, etc.) Have fun watching them with her!
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well those suggestions might work for early stages but at this point my mother can't even follow American Idol. She doesn't listen to a song all the way through and instead comments on what they are wearing etc. My father loves to watch old westerns such as Bonanza but my mother asks so many questions that its impossible to enjoy on any level. She refuses to be alone so someone has to watch tv with her at all times. Even at the beauty parlor (I take her every 2 months to get color & cut) I can't be out of her line of sight. She starts to panic.

As far as the wheelchair suggestion goes (my mother has the same issues as the original poster), those are heavy. I have a bad shoulder and can't lift much. Even her walker was hard for me to hoist, never mind getting her out of the car. By the time I get her to the beauty parlor and seated, I'm exhausted. I can't imagine doing this for "pleasure." lol Maybe I'm just old and cranky but I find it very difficult to do physical things for my mom when no one helps me and I need help as well. Its all very hard. Anyway, I digress....
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The old half hour sitcoms seem to work the best. Does my heart good, if I'm in the other room, and can hear him laughing at something on TV. My husband, just in the last few weeks, seems to be more withdrawn if I'm not sitting in the chair beside him. I'd like to be able to do that, but so many other things to do. He really enjoys our neighbor stopping to pick him up with her Golden Retriever. They take a tennis ball and my husband loves to throw it for the dog to get and bring it back. Animals and little kids are enjoyable for him to watch. And old sitcoms on TV.
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Some cable packages have a series of music channels. There are a lot of different types of music, ranging from classical, semiclassical, soft music, gospel, country, and more. I switch to a music channel when the commercials come on. They're soothing, rather than grating and obnoxious like most commercials.

I'm wondering if she would be able to follow the plot of the older movies such as Gone with the Wind, although that might be too distressing.
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You all are great! Thanks for all the input, advice & insight! Mom is 71 - early onset Alzheimer's. Not long ago we laughed when we "stumbled" upon Lawrence Welk as I was flipping thru channels for her...)As a kid, my dad insisted we tune in every Saturday night (I think?) to watch it.) I stopped changing channels & we watched a bit of the "bubble music" show.

And, yes, the commercials are a whole other story. A lot of - "Maybe we should try that?" "I wonder if that would work for me?" "Remember to pick that next time you go to the store..." A never ending loop of the movie "Groundhogs Day" is what it feels like most of the time. But thanks so much for the feedback!
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Sorry for above. It posted before completed.
My mother has difficulty following a shows series and thinks it's a long movie. Also someone made a mention that their mother would rather look at photos. I started making what's called "memory books" for my mother a few years ago. It's photo albums full of pictures from out outings together, family events, reunions, holidays, birthdays, our pups, ect. She loves them!
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My mother does have difficulty following
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I agree with everyone on the old TV shows...short half hour sitcoms like Andy Griffith, Sanford and Son, Golden Girls, etc that have a lot of things to laugh at...sometimes the plot matters less than just a funny situation or joke, and familiar faces from happier times. The Lawrence Welk show is a perfect idea or any old music, or shows like Burns and Allen etc. My Mom was bedridden for a year and a half in my home until she passed last month, and these types of shows got us through it all, and helped me unwind too. Check your local TV schedule to see if you get any shows on retro channels as well.
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My mom loves the Game Show Network (GSN), Golden Girls, Little House on the Prairie, Happy story pet shows. Mom enjoys movies like Cinderella, Joyful Noise, Grease Live. I hope this helps some.
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Commercials can be very confusing and disrupt the flow. Short seems better than long. My husband loved to watch all the episodes of Hogan's Heroes over and over. I bought a few other favorite shows on CDs.

Mom loved game shows and her favorite baseball team playing. She's not much interested in tv any more.

Familiar, no commercial interruptions, and an hour of less seemed to be the key for both of them.
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My client does watch TV, but can't follow.... sometime she tells me the actor and actresses name correctly(TCM), seem to me she is watching only their movement...She laughs that's not even funny... it is okay with me, better than crying...

I keep my client pictures in my computer...(I save all email from her family when they have the vacation) She loves to see all her children or Grandkids, her friends. She really enjoy looking those pix, also she likes animals, flowers. I do use youtube for sing a long.... her excise are many many trip to the bathroom, Well she is 93, we couldn't carry on normal conversation anymore....if I ask her Q's A's are everything "Yes and No" whichever I decided answer for her.
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Documentaries in which the narration isn't as important as the photos - such as ocean or animal documentaries.

Animal Planet's puppy and kitten shows are soothing and calming; no narration is necessary; the little furry sweethearts speak for themselves.
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And of course youtube also has the funny animal videos as well!
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Get a smart tv, find a youtube channel that has her old favorites. Youtube channels often have play lists and one will play followed immediately by another one. A new slant on set it and forget it. There are several YouTube channels that have old Andy Griffith, Burns and Allen, you name it it is there!
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Animal shows, nice nature things. Videos of swimming fish.
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Mom loved Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals. Try those.
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I agree with Buzy.. anthing musical may be a plus. My parents love the singing
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Lawrence Welk, the elderly love that show
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I agree with the other answers above, the old TV shows are great... she might enjoy "Leave it to Beaver" as your Mom's memory is slipping back into time thus she might feel like she is Beaver's age once again. Others are "Andy Griffith", "My Three Sons", "The Brady Bunch", "Green Acres", "Father Knows Best", "Hazel", "Jack Benny Show", etc.

These are on cable, on channels such as MeTV, and Antenna TV.

There is also Turner Classic Movies, she doesn't need to follow the plot if she had a crush on a favorite actor or two :)
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In my experience game shows can cause agitation. They're bright and loud and have lots of activity going on. I'd stay away from them.

Soap operas are boring.

But like geewiz said, the stations that show the old shows like Bonanza and Little House on the Prairie are good. I have yet to meet an elderly person who doesn't like westerns.

It's frigid here too (9 degrees). She'd turn into a Momsickle going outside here. But if you want to get her out to combat the boredom a nice drive might be fun for her. I used to drive my grandma to the richest part of town and we'd oogle and ooh and ahh over the mansions.
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Some ideas for you to consider: Find the station for your area that shows old tv shows. Bonanza, I love lucy ( a good laugh always helps), etc, Visit your library and get DVDs or Videos for George Burns & Gracie Allen, Ed Sullivan, What's my line, etc. There are also music videos that show the words to the old songs and she can sing along. The words are in large letters so it is easy for her to join in.

Do you have a transport wheel chair? If you can get her out in the nice weather(it's a chilly 18 degrees where I am right now) you might try taking her to a park or playground. Just watching kids on swings and jungle gyms can bring a smile to a senior's face. Ditto for watching a few innings of a kids t-ball or little league. Good luck
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