Anyone putting your parent with dementia in front of the television for hours at a time? - AgingCare.com

Anyone putting your parent with dementia in front of the television for hours at a time?

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I position my mother in front of the television for a large part of the day-I work from home and this is how I manage it but I feel so guilty putting her in front of the TV for so many hours of the day. She does read sometimes and she looks at the birdfeeders I feel like I should be down there having a cup of tea and talking with her more - I am feeling very guilty about that - Does anyone else have similar pangs of guilt about putting their loved one for hours in front of the TV? She is in a wheelchair. She enjoys three or four different shows, and I just play them on Netflix over and over and over again. She seems to be having fun but I think human interaction would be better I just don’t have the time, will or energy to do it. She is 89 and I have been caring for her for about 2 1/2 years in my home.... thank you

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No worries, Wiggie. You need to work for a living. Mother cannot live alone. This is the compromise.

Sounds like your mother is content. That’s a good thing.

We hate to see our parents get so dull. Typically, the shutting down bothers us “with-it kids” more than it bothers our elders. We get stuck on how much WE would hate that lack of stimulation RIGHT NOW. It’s just the age difference talking.

Good luck to you. If Mom’s care needs advance and you are unsure of the best resolution, sift around AC Forum some more. Lots of options have been discussed — for all budgets and all temperaments!
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Reply to BlackHole
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Well I want you all to know how much I appreciate your comments and your encouragement. It makes me feel much better. The truth is she does seem to really enjoy watching TV so you’re right, black hole it’s probably me just projecting how much it would bother me onto my mom. Thank you so much for the suggestions rocketJcat - Mom used to really enjoy puzzles and playing solataire, Etc. however now her brain just can’t handle them. So it’s Doc Martin, Golden Girls, Seinfeld and Frasier. I can no longer have Doc Martin on - If she wants to watch it I have to put her in our bedroom - I used to really like it but she watched it every day for about a year and a half and I can no longer take it. My favorite that she watches is Frasier-it grows on you and the writing is very good. Occasionally she will enjoy a nature show. We have to be careful What we watch at dinner time because after sundown she starts to internalize what’s on TV – the other night we were watching a show about the German occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II and when I put her to bed she was very worried about being camouflaged so the Germans wouldn’t find her. I want to thank all of you dear people for your comments and your encouragement. Thank you all so much. Wiggie...
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Reply to Wiggie
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Wiggie, when my Dad was in his 90's, still living in his house, he sat in front of the TV watching local 24-hour news. Dad did have caregivers that he could talk with but he still had that TV on :)

Eventually Dad moved to Independent Living facility to be around people of his own generation. Guess what? Dad preferred to sit in front of the TV watching 24-hour local news.... [sigh].
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Reply to freqflyer
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We don’t “put” my FIL in front of the TV, but he goes there anyway because that’s where he’s happiest. When my MIL isn’t at dialysis, she’s on the couch with him — TV on full blast. We’ve tried to get them involved in other activities, but they just aren’t interested. So they sit.
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Reply to FarmJelly
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Isolation is one of the negatives of home care but don't feel guilty for not sitting with her more, you have your own needs too. There are many caregivers who are frustrated that their loved ones spend the day watching TV or looking out the window and even though they try to get them involved in other things they resist because they are content. If you want more for your mom you could look into alternatives - you might try volunteer companions available through church or caregiver support groups or activities at a local senior centre or adult day care.
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Reply to cwillie
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That’s what my mother does on her own choosing. She has the tv on 24/7. Lots of crazy news. But that’s what she likes. Good for you that you can work from home and be there for your mom. Sounds like you’re doing a great job! I hope your mother appreciates you. Hugs:)
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Reply to SpiritDancer
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I didn't realize, till long after I started staying with my mom, that watching TV and sleeping was pretty much what she did all day anyway.  She used to paint, but she lost interest in that about 10 or more years ago - long, long before I started caring for her.

I am actually really grateful for that little feature on Netflix that starts the next show without me needing to babysit the remote control, because she can no longer work it on her own! But basically, all I added to mom's established routine was to teach her about binge-watching.....

Currently my mom is crushing on the guy from Murdoch Mysteries (I think it's called The Artful Detective in the US), and enjoying every minute he is on screen.  HE'S MY AGE.  I don't even want to know these things.
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Reply to Dorianne
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I work from home as well(as an architect), but we have a caregiver that attends to the MIL needs. Unfortunately, I wish she could watch TV and be calm! She is at the end stages of Dementia/Alzheimer's (double whammy)(lucky me!) She is very aggressive and physically acts out, that I have to stop my work to referee! She hits, curses, screams, throws things at the caregiver and me. She stays with me for two weeks and then goes to her daughter for months at a time. I feel bad for my SIL, so I help by taking the MIL. I am at MY LAST STRAW! I can't get work done, and I am becoming Hypertensive because of MIL. I feel like that guy getting interviewed by the BBC as his toddler and baby stroll in with the walker. I have to lock my office door so she doesn't distract me from my work. When she is in my house I feel like I got hit with a trifecta of a Tsunami, Hurricane & Tornado!
DON'T FEEL BAD! They are at a stage were they need easy and simple. If she is happy, then you will be happy. Count your blessings and be grateful. What good are you to her if you can't earn money to support the two of you. Take advantage and when you take a break sit and drink a tea and have a mini cake with her. I am sure she will love that.
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Reply to Copininlaw
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Looking bat it from my dad’s perspective (94 in AL), when I drop in on him, he’s fiddling with notebook paper with a news station on (repeats the same news every 30 min). Yet, he has no idea what’s going on in the world. He’s got some dementia, but is also sometimes with it. So, I’d say let her do whatever she does to make her happy.
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Reply to c47090
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Tv is a connection to the world and people actually. My dad was content watching TV and reading his newspaper and magazines. I wished he’d do some exercise. But nope...he said he was going to do what he wanted to do. And you know what....I let go of that battle and felt a weight lifted. It’s not hurting anything. You can let that guilt go bye bye. You are working...so don’t feel obligated. You’re making it your problem when she doesn’t see a problem. Life simplifies for people as they get older.
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Reply to Harpcat
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