Mental health and wellbeing can be severely affected for people living with dementia that can obviously impact the quality of life, not only for people with dementia but also those around them, such as family members and carers.
Up to 50% of people living with dementia experience depression which is double the 25% prevalence amongst older people more widely. Research has shown that two significant factors in this are social isolation and loneliness and the lack of mental stimulation.
Television could be one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to address this issue; people aged 65+ watch over six hours of broadcast TV every day on average in the UK. However, mainstream television is not dementia-friendly.
850,000 people living with dementia will be unable to watch normal TV because of cognitive impairment when their condition progresses; memory problems, a decrease in concentration and impaired hearing mean that people living with dementia struggle with fast plots, complex information and loud music. Put simply, the lack of dementia-friendly television is a barrier to improving the mental health of people living with dementia.
Our partner My Life TV, the dementia-friendly channel, is addressing these challenges and enabling people to be able to watch the shows they want to watch when they want to watch them. It is a web-based video on-demand TV platform and being based on the internet means it is easily accessible at home or in any care setting via a computer or smart device, and can be cast to a TV.
All of the dementia-friendly content is “feel good” with a broad range of shows available, from interactive programmes like quizzes and armchair yoga, to passive entertainment like nature programmes and archive news. The content is curated for the cognitive needs of the audience and the interactive content created by their in-house production team.
Feel good content - happy entertaining programmes such as laughter videos and
Slow TV - cruise the Fjords, relax at Kew Gardens, enjoy wildlife at the Royal Parks,
watch kittens playing.
Reminisce - there are childhood memory films from BFI, programmes about Royalty
and history programmes.
Engage - bespoke quizzes, sing-alongs, chair yoga, music therapy.
My Life TV can be watched on your TV, tablet, computer, or smartphone whenever you want.
It is available on** iPhone, Android devices, Apple TV, Android TV, and Amazon Fire TV**.
There is a mixture of “lean in” and “lean back” programmes, suitable for all stages of people’s dementia journeys.
 Zubenko, G.S., Zubenko, W.N., McPherson, S., et al. (2003) ‘A collaborative study of the emergence and clinical features of the major depressive syndrome of Alzheimer’s disease’, American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(5), p.857–66. Available at: doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.160.5.857 (Accessed: 21 January 2021)
 (2021) Mental health statistics: older people Available at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-older-people (Accessed: 5 February 2021)
 Daly, S., Allen, J. (2016) Inequalities in mental health, cognitive impairment and dementia among older people [Online] Available at: http://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/resources-reports/inequalities-in-mental-health-cognitive-impairment-and-dementia-among-older-people/inequalities-in-mental-health-cognitive-impairement-and-dementia-among-older-people.pdf (Accessed: 10 March 2021)
 Lucero, M., Pearson, R., Hutchinson, S., Leger-Krall, S., Rinalducci, E. (2001) ‘Products for Alzheimer’s self-stimulatory wanderers’, American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias 16(1), p.43–50. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/153331750101600104 (Accessed 10 March 2021)
 (2020) Thousands of people with dementia dying or deteriorating – not just from coronavirus as isolation takes its toll [Online]. Available at: https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/news/2020-06-05/thousands-people-dementia-dying-or-deteriorating-not-just-coronavirus-isolation (Accessed: 21 January 2021)
 (2020) OFCOM Media Nations 2020: Interactive Report [Online]. Available at: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/research-and-data/tv-radio-and-on-demand/media-nations-reports/media-nations-2020/interactive-report (Accessed: 21 January 2021)
 Funnell, L., Garriock, I., Shirley, B. and Williamson, T., (2019) ‘Dementia-friendly design of television news broadcasts’ Journal of Enabling Technologies, 13(3), p.137-149. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/JET-02-2018-0009 (Accessed: 21 January 2021)