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No News is Good News!

War.  Social upheaval.  Weapons of mass destruction.  Mass shootings.  Terrorist bombings.  Murder.  Fire.  People yelling at each other.

Turn on the news these days and that’s what you get.  Let’s face it, most news is bad news.  Ratings seem to depend on who can be more outrageous, who can be more confrontational, who can push the envelope farther.  Most good news, if there is any, is a short segment squeezed in at the end of the program.

We all find this stuff interesting and educational – to a point.  And watching the news is a way to satisfy a guilty pleasure.  We’re watching TV, but we’re watching the news.  These are world events.  It’s educational!  We’re staying informed!

In our experience serving elderly home care clients in Chapel Hill and Durham, we think it’s often better just to turn the news off.  For many, it’s a habit to have CNN or a similar program going on in the background.  For those who suffer from dementia, this can be bad and disquieting.

Like a small child, the dementia sufferer is unable to process information properly.  A forest fire in the Rockies becomes a fire at the park down the road.   War in a far away country becomes war at home.  The imagination runs wild and it’s hard to separate fact from fiction.

If we might be uncomfortable letting a toddler see graphic images of disasters and conflict, we should be equally concerned when its our elderly loved ones.

What’s the solution?  Turn it off.  Watch reruns of the Andy Griffith Show or Little House on the Prairie.  At this stage in their lives, why do dementia sufferers need to stay informed?   If there ever was an occasion when “No News is Good News”, this is it.