Classic Holiday Movies for Alzheimer’s / Dementia Patients November 24 2014

For adults living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, the connections between movies and memories are not necessarily lost. Enjoying a classic holiday movie during the holidays is an enjoyable, passive activity that can provide a variety of benefits for a senior diagnosed with a memory-loss condition. Movies can help evoke special memories and even encourage an individual to be more communicative and engaged with family members, caregivers, and peers—sharing a conversation about the movie, an actor or actress, or the theme of the film. In addition, enjoying a movie may reduce symptoms often associated with Alzheimer's disease, such as, anxiety, aggression, apathy, and agitation. Many may come away from the “movie experience” with a more positive mood and a greater attention span.

It is very important to choose movies that are appropriate for people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Select movies that are relatively short in length—approximately two hours or under—as with moderate and advanced stages of Alzheimer's disease, the individual may have an extremely short attention span. Choose films that are fun and upbeat. Avoid films with violence, frightening imagery, serious illnesses, or death. Many Alzheimer's patients may not be able to distinguish between fantasy and reality, or have anxiety issues and may become upset or agitated.

Movies are a great resource for entertainment, as well as reminiscence therapy. Below is a list of one dozen classic holiday films appropriate for people with living with Alzheimer’s disease:

It’s A Wonderful Life (1947)

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. (130 min.)

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

When a nice old man who claims to be Santa Claus is institutionalized as insane, a young lawyer decides to defend him by arguing in court that he is the real thing. (96 min.)

White Christmas (1954)

A successful song-and-dance team become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general. (120 min.)

Holiday Inn (1942)

At an inn which is only open on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer. (100 min.)

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

A food writer who has lied about being the perfect housewife must try to cover her deception when her boss and a returning war hero invite themselves to her home for a traditional family Christmas. (102 min.)

A Christmas Carol (1951)

An old bitter miser is given a chance for redemption when he is haunted by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. (86 min.)

The Bishop’s Wife (1951)

A bishop trying to get a new cathedral built prays for guidance. An angel (Cary Grant) arrives, but his guidance isn't about fundraising. (109 min.)

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)

In the year before the 1904 St Louis World's Fair, the four Smith daughters learn lessons of life and love, even as they prepare for a reluctant move to New York. (113 min.)

Holiday Affair (1949)

The Christmas-season romance of a young widow and a sales clerk who (thanks to her) is unemployed. (87 min.)

Remember the Night (1940)

Just before Christmas, Lee Leander is caught shoplifting. It is her third offense. She is prosecuted by John Sargent. He postpones the trial because it is hard to get a conviction at Christmas time. (94 min.)

Going My Way (1944)

Youthful Father Chuck O'Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy, but his level gaze and twinkling eyes make it clear that he knows he made the right choice. (126 min.)

The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)

At a big city Catholic school, Father O'Malley and Sister Benedict indulge in friendly rivalry, and succeed in extending the school through the gift of a building. (126 mins.)

Shadowbox Press products are developed to provide an easy and effective way to enhance the quality of engagement with seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Our collection of interactive books and conversation cards are designed to evoke memories, prompt conversations, and engage adults in an enjoyable, meaningful activity. For more information or to place your order, call us toll-free at (888) 796-6333.