Stressed About TV? 5 Tips to Help

All Rights Reserved

TV can be a caregiver's best friend when it entertains your loved one and gives you an oasis of free time. But TV can also become an unhealthy substitute for mental stimulation, social engagement, and physical activity. In fact, TV can be as much a source of household stress as it is a stress reliever.

Here, some of caregivers' top pet peeves about TV -- and some possible solutions.

Problem #1: It's always on!

For many older adults, TV is a constant companion. But most people aren't really news junkies or sports fans 24/7; the TV has just become an automatic reflex -- something to turn on when you walk in the room.

Try this:

  • Turn the channel to more active programming, like an exercise show.

  • Alternate TV with music. Keep a radio, CD player, or MP3 player near the TV where it can be turned on easily. Make sure that your loved one's favorites are always ready to go. Create special playlists or try audio books.

  • Add more non-TV activity, such as walking, craft projects, or household chores, to your daily routine.

  • Watch for signs of depression. Overreliance on TV might be masking a bigger problem.

  • For someone with dementia, try unplugging the set periodically so that it's "broken" and you need to do something else.