• All threads and posts regarding Coronavirus COVID-19 can now be found in our new area specifically for Coronavirus COVID-19 discussion.

    You can directly access this area >here<.

problems viewing TV


Registered User
Jul 9, 2014
My mother is 93 and was diagnosed with AD four years ago. She was admitted to the dementia ward of a care home one month ago and, thankfully, she is settling in reasonably well. However, her major complaint is about the television in her room. Almost every day, she is telling us that the TV is not working. We check the TV on a regular basis and make sure that it is working correctly. Quite often, we find that it is the clumsy and impatient way she has used the remote control that has caused a problem. But when we try to show Mum that the TV is working correctly, she flicks through the channels, glancing at each programme for just a few seconds, and then says her TV is showing all the old programmes, things she's seen before. We try to tell her that her TV is showing the same programmes as everyone else's, but to no avail. I think it is Mum's perception of the programmes that is at fault. Admittedly, a lot of daytime programmes are very similar, but Mum is no longer able to perceive the slight differences between one programme and another of the same series.

Finally, my question: How best to overcome these problems? I could buy a remote control more suitable for someone with AD. But would it be better to replace the TV (which has caused so much frustration) with a monitor and DVD player and buy a set of suitable DVDs that Mum might enjoy? Any suggestions?


Registered User
Oct 7, 2014
We bought mum the ad remote for the tv and it proved ok for a while. The problem appears to be holding the buttons down for too long, pressing random buttons etc. so we tried to find a solution and failed and as none of us live anywhere near her we have to leave it to the carers every day to try and unscramble the muddle. My son in law says a simple tv like the 1970s is what is needed!

Sent from my iPad using Talking Point


Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
We're in a similar situation. I bought the Alz friendly remote but found it was too much for mum to learn. So she watches BBC or ITV via the normal remote and gets regularly confused even at that.

I always try to leave the TV on when I leave but I know she switches it on and off using the plug in the socket....not the remote....

DVDs wouldn't be suitable as she couldn't follow them.

In fact I find that she likes individuals ( eg Bradley Walsh on The Chase) and basically watches anything that is presented by someone she likes :) x


Registered User
Oct 18, 2013
British Isles
Like Lindy50 I bought a large easy control (just 6 buttons) but it was too late for my Mum to learn to use it. So I bought a combined TV/DVD player and box sets of programmes she enjoyed. It did rely on a carer switching on for her, and of course there is the problem of what to do once the DVD ends if no one is around to press "play" again.

Dad's Army worked well, familiar characters and doesn't really rely on following the plot. If she likes music, films of musicals can be good as it doesn't really matter about following the storyline.

Mum's cognition declined very quickly and I have found the DVD player very handy for playing music, until recently she enjoyed singing along to familiar songs.

Good luck GrannyJo, hope you find the right solution for your Mum.


Registered User
Jan 28, 2015
I have found very few 'dementia friendly' devices of any type on the market.

If I ever find myself with enough money to invest in a new start up business and not care if I make a profit, I would design and manufacture truly dementia friendly products.

Phones, TVs, radios, can openers, alarm clocks, microwave ovens, washing machines, you name it they are all too complex and fiddly for the elderly generally, let alone those suffering from dementia. The problem is, this market is viewed as niche by the manufacturers so they don't want to spend too much on it and just adapt standard products badly.

I get so frustrated watching my mother and aunt struggling to work these things because even for me some of them are quite difficult to use. Small, low contrast displays with obscure graphics. Multi-function controls. Too many menus and settings. The list goes on.

And another thing, while I'm ranting: Online banking security. It's a farce. Every bank is different and unless you have your username, ID code, security authorisation code, memorable name, online PIN number and transaction confirmation codes written down somewhere, you're going to forget one of them at some point and be locked out after three goes. That's if you haven't already accidentally dropped your card reader/secure token into a cup of coffee and are having to wait 5-10 days for another one to be sent to you.

I cannot see how anyone in even the early stages of dementia can cope with online banking or most online financial transactions generally.

All of this stuff needs a really good look at by someone in a position to make changes because it's only going to get more difficult as time goes on.


Registered User
Nov 13, 2014
Sorry don't have a solution but we go through the same thing constantly at home, mum has always watched the soaps but now simply cant follow them, she sits with the TV magazine on her lap and announces ''we are missing Coronation Street'' and it's Corrie she's watching! Then I come in and the TV is off, ''why is the TV off?'' ''It's a load of rubbish, there are none of MY programmes on'' which would be fine if I knew what her programmes were! Don't suppose a 'Smart' TV would help?? x


Registered User
Dec 11, 2013
Sorry don't have a solution but we go through the same thing constantly at home, mum has always watched the soaps but now simply cant follow them, she sits with the TV magazine on her lap and announces ''we are missing Coronation Street'' and it's Corrie she's watching! Then I come in and the TV is off, ''why is the TV off?'' ''It's a load of rubbish, there are none of MY programmes on'' which would be fine if I knew what her programmes were! Don't suppose a 'Smart' TV would help?? x
Opaline, I trust you are joking about 'Smart' TVs :D When I bought mum a new TV recently, I got the only decent one I could find that wasn't smart.....they have far too many options and choices!!

Speaking of soaps, the fact that mum can no longer follow them has cut out a huge chunk of what used to pass for our conversation :( Last Saturday it went something like this:

Me: Did you see EE ?
Mum: Er, I'm not sure, remind me...(she is a great confabulator)
Me: Well, Ian and Jane got married......
Mum: Er....
Me: Oh, she wore a green dress, you have always said that was bad luck, haven't you?
Mum: Have I ?
Me: Well you wouldn't let me buy a green car...
Mum: Really?
Me: Anyway, Jane and Ian got married in EE....you know, she's the tall one...
Mum: I expect someone phoned, I did mean to watch it (more confabulaton)
Me: Do you fancy a cup of tea, mum?

*Relief all round*

Then we live in the moment and put some music on :D x


Registered User
Dec 22, 2013
There's not a day that goes by that I don't have to remind mum that the telephone doesn't control the TV and she can't make calls on the remote! I'm definitely with the "keep it simple" brigade for these modern devices!:D

Grey Lad

Registered User
Sep 12, 2014
North East Lincs
Much the same here. When I went out for the day on Friday Maureen was unable to switch on the TV and both remotes were by the telephone. Rarely is there anything on that she enjoys any more. In fact she says that channels is no good but that is all channels. She also says she feels the news is made up and not real. In short the T V brings little pleasure at all. The only thing she really enjoys is watching her granddaughter sing on YouTube. She will then say this is on again; not understanding that I have chosen to listen to Maeve sing as it gives us both so much pleasure.


Registered User
Mar 4, 2013
Auckland...... New Zealand
Thankfully my Dad (cognitive impairment) still knows how to work the Sky remote... just... :) or Mum(Alzheimers) & Dad really would be stuck.
I bought Mum an AD remote for her TV in her bedroom which for the moment is working well.
However as much as she watches Coronation St, and Eastenders she really can't follow the plot, and can watch the same episode, and not remember. She is also starting to mix up reality from fiction.

I was reading, who had killed Lucy Beale, and asked Mum if she wanted to know who.
She daid Yes, but when I told her she asked me if Bobby was going to jail, and wasn't he too young, and what would his parents think.... Then she thought about it and said " But Eastenders isn't real is it"
Its statements like these that hit home with Dad, but don't phase me


Registered User
Mar 2, 2014
My dad is much the same with tv, everyday it's all rubbish!! He does like sport but it would be no good getting sky as he would not be able to work the remote. He can only put on channels 1 to 5, so when football is on (like tonight) he can watch it. However he gets it muddled up with reality and thinks he has actually gone out to watch the game and every time I get a phone call and he asks me how he is going to get home!!!

As an alternative source of entertainment I bought a cheap MP3 player and headphones and put all his favourite songs on it, he does enjoy listening to it for a while, but has to be prompted to listen to it. It is the same with his keyboard, he doesn't think to use it, even though he says he is fed up all day, but if I switch it on for him he can play a variety of tunes from memory!!