Are you a caregiver looking for positive movies and TV shows for your loved one with dementia?

It can be harder than one may first assume. We are exposed to a massive amount of negative stories and images which can cause emotional distress to someone with dementia. Even the content in commercials or the news can have a negative impact on their emotional wellbeing.

People with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia perceive things differently than those of us with healthy cognitive function. Discerning the difference between TV/movies and their own reality can be difficult or impossible. In addition, it can be easy for them to take on the emotion of what they are watching having heightened feelings either positive or negative depending on the type of content.

A positive movie or TV show experience can enhance mood, promote socialization, ease anxiety and bring long-term memories of old favorites to the surface. Watching an uplifting show can also be a great intergenerational activity bridging the gap between the young and old, so invite the kids, grandkids or great-grandkids over for an early movie night! There are many great options both old and new and we have compiled lists of crowd pleasers for you to browse through.

Classic TV classics that are also on DVD

  • I love Lucy
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • Lavern and Shirley
  • Happy Days
  • The Golden Girls
  • Gilligans Island
  • The Three Stooges
  • Bonanza
  • Phillis Diller
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • The Waltons

Recommended current reality shows 

  • Dancing with the Stars
  • American Idol
  • America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV)


  • Grumpy Old Men
  • Cheaper by the Dozen
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • John Wayne
  • Guys and Dolls
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • The Pajama Game


  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • South Pacific
  • Easter Parade
  • Westside Story
  • The Sound of Music
  • Calamity Jane
  • Paint Your Wagon 

DVD’s with ambient images and music

The following dvd’s were made specifically for those with cognitive impairment to promote stimulation through pleasing imagery and beautiful music.

Top 2 recommended TV stations 

The networks below offer popular films and programs from past eras.

  • TVLand
  • Turner Classic Movies

Are you questioning whether a particular movie or series is appropriate for your residents or loved one with dementia? If you can answer yes to these 6 questions, you are off to a great start!

 6 Question Quiz:

  • Can it be enjoyed without having to closely follow along?
  • Is it light and upbeat?
  • Is it free from unpleasant imagery, offensive language and violent content?
  • Does it have a simple plot?
  • Is it shorter in length (under 2 hours)?
  • Do you think it will provoke happiness and or laughter?

In the end, the best movies or TV shows for those with dementia are the ones that make them happy! Let’s keep this list going by adding your loved one’s favorite(s) in the comment section below.


*This is a re-blog from It was originally posted by Kristin Angulo on