Does Your Loved One Think The Characters On TV Are Real?

A lot of Alzheimer’s patients do.

I recently met a woman whose mother lives in a nursing home, has Alzheimer’s…and thinks the people on the tube are real. Once, she refused to play bingo until she invited the newscaster to play, too. And she apparently thinks the music shows are live concerts.

“Should I eliminate her TV-watching altogether?” the woman asked me.

The answer, I told her, is no – with one condition. If the people on TV seem threatening to her, or if the situations are frightening, then it’s a good idea to limit her TV-watching…and to be aware of what she’s watching. It could be causing her to become agitated.

However, assuming the characters or the shows are not frightening, or distressing, who, really, is being hurt? If TV provides entertainment for her, and keeps her occupied, there’s no real problem. And if she feels the people on TV are her friends…again, there’s nothing really harmful in that.

If your loved one thinks the people on TV are real, and he/she is in a nursing home, talk to the staff. If necessary, let them know you’d like to limit her TV. She’ll inevitably see other residents watching TV. But she can be directed to another activity, such as bingo or story-telling.

If you find it necessary to remove her TV, make sure the staff will take her out to one of the facility’s TV’s to let her watch her favorite (happy!) programs. In addition, you could buy her a VCR and some appropriate movies that she can watch herself.

“Don’t make it a big problem if it isn’t one,” I said to the woman. “You’ll know if it’s becoming a problem.”

At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’ve worked with thousands of South Florida families dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia. And there’s nothing we haven’t seen.

We practice Elder Law…and only Elder Law. We can walk you through the Alzheimer’s Journey…every step of the way. We can help ensure your loved one is happy, in a secure environment, and that her (and your!) legal rights are respected. And we can help you navigate the bureaucratic maze involved in dealing with nursing homes and Alzheimer’s.

We’re only a phone call away.

Posted in Alice Reiter Feld Florida Elder Law Monday Memos

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