While watching television in moderate amounts is not a problem, many aging elders watch too much TV. Doing so promotes excessive sitting and a sedentary lifestyle that has been linked to a number of health problems, but there are other negative effects that must also be considered.
Research has indicated that the more an aging person watches television, they less they perform cognitively. Specifically, when a person over the age of 65 views television for longer than three and a half hours each day, they will have a more difficult time remembering basic things like places and names. If a caretaker notices that their loved one’s memory isn’t as good as it once was, there are lots of things that could cause it, but excess television watching will definitely not help.
The fast paced nature and intensity of modern television can create higher stress within the brains of aging individuals. Part of this is because modern television channels, particularly the news, continually report bad or unpleasant information while rarely mentioning anything good or positive.
Constantly viewing broadcasts involving violence and murder will create unease in the minds of elders which can dampen their mood, create or reinforce feelings of depression and make it harder to sleep. Try to stick to channels and shows which are positive rather than negative. Many retirees prefer watching movies or shows that were popular during their youth, so look for those when you can.
Decreased Verbal Activity or Communication
Television watching tends to be passive behavior where the set distributes conversation and engagement to the viewer, who often sits silently. The problem with this is that engaging in such an activity for too long, especially in aging people may erode their verbal activity or communication skills. Some might find it difficult to engage in traditional conversations which are always take and give. Too much television creates an unrealistic expectation where conversations must be scripted and it can become harder for some to converse on a topic especially with someone whose opinion differs.
A growing body of evidence suggests that some television programming is designed to misinform viewers through the usage of disinformation. Former government officials and those involved in journalism have revealed that it isn’t unusual for news sources to bend the truth and even outright lie at times.
The widespread usage of the internet has highlighted the discrepancies between what the public is often told by governments on the news versus what actually occurred. This is why aging retirees should be encouraged to get some of their news from alternative online sources rather than depending solely on mainstream news channels which are owned by a handful of corporations.
Scientific studies have consistently linked a sedentary lifestyle with various health problems as one ages, and excessive television watching requires one to remain seated for hours. This is why encouraging physical fitness and enjoying area attractions is so important, because it will get elders away from the TV screen while keeping their bodies in good condition so they can resist the ravages of aging and remain independent for as long as possible.