It’s easy to take everyday things for granted- and the simple act of watching TV is no different. For those who have dementia, the shows that most of us are able to watch so casually can actually be troublesome, and even distressing. That is why the London based charity, My Life Films, has launched the world’s first ever dementia-friendly TV channel – a streaming service called My Life TV. 

My Life Films, founded in 2014, is a charity specialising in improving the lives of people with dementia using video-based dementia care. With over 800 000 people in the UK diagnosed with it, the charity aims to improve the quality of the lives of the people affected. 

They create and provide ‘Life Story films’ that feature images, interviews and music, meant either to bring comfort and hope to people with dementia or to give carers insight. An independent NHS research pilot has shown that these films are effective; they trigger positive memories, raise self-esteem and confidence in those with dementia, and improve communication with family members. 

First ever dementia-friendly TV channel launched

As a world leader in video-based dementia care, their new streaming service offers programmes that have been created or adapted for the cognitive needs of people with dementia. The contents of My Life TV range from kittens playing to dementia-friendly operas, with even more coming in the future. The aim is to stimulate and connect people living with dementia with the outside world to improve their mental health and support essential care.

This being the objective, the project’s development was accelerated in response to COVID-19, as the pandemic increased isolation and inoccupation among people living with dementia by confining them to their rooms all alone. The service was able to pilot in November and was initially provided to 24 people across two care homes based in London. 

Wonderfully, almost all those who participated saw improvements to their psychological wellbeing and carers reported that it facilitated the routine care given to patients. 

Fiona Saadat, Manager of Cecil Court care home, stated: “The channel put a smile on our residents’ faces and had so many positive impacts; helping them to relax, jogging their memory, energising them, improving residents’ communication and relationships with each other and with staff, and reducing feelings of loneliness. It helped staff to deliver routine care, enabling them to manage behaviour that challenges and make residents more compliant with eating and taking medication. I would highly recommend it to all care homes”.

My Life TV is available now with a three-month free trial, after which it costs £4 a month. It is suitable for use at home or in care homes, and all profits will go back into My Life Film’s charity services.  

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Crystel is currently a first year English student at University College London. She hopes to one day pursue journalism further.

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