10 Responses to “TV Watching and Our Aging Parents – Part 1”


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  1. I have found that children (since I have 3 – personal experience) don’t even like the news. Typically. But they can get caught up in it when it is something big (guns, violence, car chase, etc.). And this can lead to a belief that this world is right outside our door. Not good. In fact, I question how good it is for us as normal adults. How much of this do we need to see? Do we (as adults) start to become desensitized to it? I guess I’m going off on a tangent here, but I really am not sure how much value anyone can get from seeing the same types of stories night after night.

    You make a good point about the “golden oldies” and what they start to believe. I agree with you that we are better off showing light-hearted shows.

    I also have been questioning how much we really “need” tv in our lives. What is the value it provides?

    I’m starting to see this with my parents. They are not yet what I would call golden oldies, but they have recently reached retirement age. And I have noticed that they seem to watch more tv than they used to. I’m not sure this is a good thing. I’m not sure it’s bad either, but I guess it’s an area I want to explore more.

    Anyway, this is an interesting topic Linda. I struggle with this with my kids, I think about it’s affect on me, and I’ve recently began to think about it’s affect on my parents.

  2. Hi Linda,

    You brought up a fantastic subject. You’re right. Why don’t we monitor what our Golden Oldies watch. Can you imagine how depressing, and even scary it can be for them to watch all of that violence? Even I get tired of watching the news some days. Whatever story is “hot” gets run over and over.

    Instead of watching so much television, it would be great if the elderly people got more involved in games or other social events that allow them to interact with others (instead of staring at a television screen).

  3. It is my personal belief that television is bad for anyone, even the lighthearted kind. Setting aside all of the studies that show how little your brain functions when you watch TV, it is time better spent on other things. Playing games, going for a walk, even enjoying a cup of tea or coffee with a friend.

    I remember my Grandmother was constantly watching the news and she was became a very depressed, cynical woman.

    That said, my own mother, though she is not quite even 65 yet would happily strangle me if I even hinted that I may be ‘monitoring’ her activities.

    It is a delicate balance to say the least. Where do you draw the line? Elderly people are still adults and while their physical, and sadly mental function as well, may be decreased they are entitled to being treated as adults. At what point do we, as their children and grandchildren step in and make decisions for them?

    It really is too bad that we can’t rid the world of all negativity. It would solve so many problems.

  4. Hi Linda.

    I can see how TV can have such an effect on the Golden Oldies, especially if that makes up the majority of their mental stimulation.

    It is important for families to keep in close contact with their elders and for them to maintain good social connections. It’s just as important I suspect, as it is to nurture a child as he or she is growing up.

    BTW, congrats on becoming NBOTW! 🙂

  5. Television is indeed a big part in elderly people’s lives. I guess it’s good that there are a lot of channels for them to choose from, but as you said, what they show on these channels, particularly one I have in mind that seem to do well with the “golden oldies” demographics, are not always healthy ones to watch. And the children shouldn’t expect TV for their parents to replace family interactions.

  6. Jay

    It’s a very interesting point, but good luck with trying to dictate or manipulate what the average Golden Oldie with intact mental faculties might watch. It would, of course, be different if the Golden one were mentally impaired, in which case it might be imperative to do so.

    I think my own mother (eighty-eight and disabled) would be incredibly insulted if anyone so much as hinted about what she should or shouldn’t watch. Anyone doing so would be likely to be cut down to size very quickly and thoroughly, and she’d probably refuse to speak civilly to them for weeks!

    She does get depressed, but not at the news – she likes to rant at the news. It affords her great pleasure.

    She gets depressed because she is disabled and in pain, and lonely because she can’t get out on her own. In her case, I think the violence and crime on the news would be better dealt with by balancing it with the good stuff, which we try to do by bringing other news to her – family, what we’ve been doing, feel-good news, photographs, etc.

    I came over via Blogging Without a Blog – your site looks very interesting, I’ll come back later and dig into the rest! 🙂

  7. I agree that TV watching is not good for my mom, but the conspiracy radio stuff she listen to at night is worse! And I agree with Jay in that a riot (even though she is one person) would ensue if we tried to limit her viewing or listening. Since she lives with us, we try to compensate with other input, including laughing at something in the news story or the way it was presented to minimize its impact.

  8. I have found that Golden Oldies are going to do what they want and when they want. They are done being controlled period. So all you can do is to just have discussions about the stuff they see on tv during a game or some activity.

    Another point is that there are a lot of elderly who are pretty savvy to what they see on the news versus daily life and their perceptions do not change to what news anchors want or try to make you believe.

  9. @ Lance – I also question the value of TV overall (except for sports :grin:) these days. And we definitely monitored what our son was watching on TV as he grew up (no WWF wrestling as an example). It’s great that you are already thinking ahead about your parents’ viewing habits.

    @ Barbara — Games and other social events are indeed a good alternative, and I’ll be covering this more in Part 2, so stay tuned.

    @ Genlisae — Welcome to the TLeC community! You raise an excellent point. Yes, it is a fine line and a delicate balance trying to decide when to step in. Seniors live in different situations, with different TV habits already ingrained. I was writing this from a perspective about those Golden Oldies who aren’t living on their own any longer. I will address this further in Part 2.

    @ Davina – Thank you for visiting and commenting. I am indeed thrilled to be NBOTW!

    @ Al @ 7P – Welcome to the TLeC Community. I’m wondering what TV channel you’re referring to? 😈

    @ Jay – Welcome to the TLeC Community. I think you are clearly on top of your mother’s needs and are helping her deal with her sadness and pain. Balancing the news with “good stuff” both on TV and in real life is smart of you. I agree about not always being able to dictate what they are watching, depending on their mental faculties. More in Part 2 on both of these ideas. Hope you’ll visit again.

    @ SpaceAgeSage — Great idea about minimizing the impact of the news stories — distract them from the scary stuff!

    @ Linda — Welcome to the TLeC Community! Yes, many seniors are very savvy, again depending on their mental status. I wrote this from a perspective that those residing in assisted living or board & care facilities usually have some memory loss and can be easily frightened by hearing the negativity blaring from the TV.

    Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts!

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