My husband also has this problem with TV or radio. Any violence frightens him and if there is talk about famine or killings he looks anxious and asks me how it will impact on him. At least I am here all the time so I can switch off unsuitable things or explain to him about things on the news being for far away places.
If she wasn't past it now she'd have had a field day with Rebekah Brooks!
We rarely have the tv on these days, news 24 is one of the worse with the headlines at the bottom of the screen. They repeat continuously, one murder then becomes 10 or 20, if dad falls asleep in front of the tv she will read the headline for even longer so we have 100 murders.
Then we have the trouble of feeding all these people, the cost will be enormous. To try and calm one outburst and get her to eat I put on a food programme, big mistake, she was terrified by The Hairy Bikers, I think it was those huge mouthfuls of food, she was working out how we could afford to feed them.
I found that the only TV my mother could tolerate were cartoons (which she had never liked before the alzheimers took hold) - but after, funny cartoons made her laugh and laugh - happy ones like Shrek ....there came a stage where she could no longer follow a plot, having been an avid TV watcher all her life. Now she has no interest in TV at all.
I love these forums. After days of total frustration I realise that there are so many of us in the same situation and so many still smiling.
My Mum also has VasDementia and she occasionally muddles up tv and reality but usually if she has dozed off in the middle of a programme and wakes up and can be confused for quite a while. We usually just reassure her and one of us pops round to take her for a walk down the garden and suddenly all is well with the world.
The other day I discovered a DVD player with an automatic changer which means that it would be possible on a bad day to load up to 5 dvds of old films and just leave the machine running. I like that idea as she really loves the old romantic films or the gene kelly type dancing stories and they are really cheap to buy on ebay.
It would happen with my mother as well. While watching TV before dinner time she would think that a lot of people have come in the house and will start asking the maid to prepare food for them following the Indian tradition and it will require some convincing but she will always be in doubt. It was a sweet thing. She was 95 years and her TV watching was largely confined to religious discourses. She had great respect for religious persons and saints. I found this very sweet and beautiful. She will also recognize mirror images as real. One day she took me to my room and showing the mirror said that an old woman stays there. She would take her own image as the old woman. On being reminded that the old woman is she herself, she would wonder if it was true and she was as old as that. She was like a little child. Your post made me think about her and I always miss her.
My mum's not too bad with the tv, possibly because she is hard of hearing and cannot focus too well. I usually put the subtitles on although they move too quickly for her but when she does try to watch it she is convinced the newsreader is talking directly to her, and answers back saying things like 'yes, i know', 'thank you very much', oh yes that's good'!!
My mother has confusions about reality but the source of her misinterpretations are between dreams and wakefulness. It's a nightmare either way! Considering the type of content available on TV and the power of imagination, it's always going to crop up. I reckon you have done the right thing by just talking to her and getting her to switch the TV off. I do the same when Mum relates the most incredible series of events that have happened to her and the conclusions she has jumped to. I let her talk her fears out and then explain there might have been a muddle and then try and go off on a tangent about something funny or mundane so that she forgets about it..hopefully.
My CPN is always checking now about how my Grandmother thinks the TV is real. Sometimes she talks and waves to the people on the telly. The other night we had Escape to the Country on, and then she kept asking how much we wanted for her to buy the house and what other properties could she view before she made her decision.
For years now though, we've had to be really careful what is on the telly. Anything with children is a no, as then she gets distressed when she can't find them. Any intense dramas, likewise, she can't help being drawn into it. Old programmes are good, as long as they are not about the war. She used to like Jeremy Kyle (of all things, lol) but then the arguments became too upsetting for her.
One time, I was in my room, she was watching telly, and she suddenly burst into me screaming and shouting and distressed saying she "didn't bloody owe me any money and why had I sent her a solicitors letter?" I looked everywhere for the post, to see what might have triggered it, and she was really difficult to talk down. Finally I got her to sit down and have a cup of tea with me, and then I realised: Judge Judy was on the television. There never was a letter.
Its tricky. I think if you can talk them back to reality that is really well done, sometimes I've just had to sit through it until her short term memory erases it for me. When I suggest what's on telly now, I only give her the options of what I know to be 'suitable', but she's losing interest and concentration now anyway...
We have tried programming her digibox so that it only has the channels we're happy for her to watch, but it's a cheap thing from Tesco, so its ability to retain the selection is random (oh, the irony!).
She has asked me recently whether we have been flooded, because of what was on the news, and I've also had conversations with her over the phone about nice people coming to see her and telling her all sorts of interesting things.
Just lately I've started to wonder whether her increasing confusion about whether it is night time or day time is down to the tv as well - it must be so confusing to be watching something at night that is set during the day, and vice versa.
Like Celia, when Mum rings me and sounds upset or confused, I try to find out what she's been watching and then try to reassure her that it was only the tv. Mum still has a lot of awareness and usually ends the conversation with, "I'm just being silly, aren't I?", meaning that she knows it's just the tv. Other times I have to suggest to her that maybe she has been dreaming, as that's the only way I can get her to accept that what she thought had happened wasn't real.
Do you think the new HD type pictuers are adding to the problem, we have an oldish tv but when everything went over to digital the picture quality improved.
Why can't there be a happy news channel? I am sure years ago that the news was more balanced with the silly season during August.
Mrs.hicks, had to laugh when I started reading about Mama Mia, I thought for a moment your mum was about to leap on a table and start singing and dancing!
Oh dear!! that sounds like a stressful situation and upsetting for your Mum- dementia is like a strange nightmare sometimes- Dolphins can be carers in nightmares.
My Granny does sometimes think TV is reality- we watched 'Embarassing bodies' a while ago and the doctor was checking people's breasts, my Granny fell asleep while watching it and then woke up and asked what time the doctor was coming to check her bust and even after reassuring her she asked again. She also makes up stories about people on the TV- such as the 'One show' presenter is a mormon and doesn't wear make-up or one of the new's presenters used to work with her Dad!
It's a strange thing but I guess where memories are non existent or weak then any material can be used instead/ to fill them in!
Last edited by Lisa74; 02-07-2012 at 05:26 PM.