A group of older adults laughing on a couch.

18 Good Movies for Seniors With Dementia on Netflix

For those of us who don’t live with dementia or cognitive challenges, it can be difficult to make choices for people who are struggling. Google searches result in lists of rules and “what not to do” lists. Thankfully, there are many great film options available for seniors with dementia! Streaming services like Netflix make finding good movies for dementia patients even easier.

Nostalgic films are an excellent choice for seniors with dementia. They tick all the boxes: easy to follow, not too graphic or upsetting, and not too long. Not only that but choosing older movies for dementia patients can also help to stir old memories. Today’s age of streaming makes it incredibly easy to find wonderful nostalgic movies for your loved ones!

Feel-good films and heartwarming reality TV shows are also great choices for seniors with dementia. We have 18 various TV shows and movies, all available on Netflix, that we think would be excellent choices for seniors with dementia.

How to Choose the Best Movies for Dementia Patients

Choosing good movies for dementia patients isn’t an exact formula. Knowing every trigger that could upset someone is impossible, and taste is subjective. However, we do have some advice on how to pick the best movies for dementia patients.

  1. Do not watch anything graphic, violent, or upsetting. Seniors with dementia often struggle to regulate their emotions, and intense movies can be unsettling for them. Instead, try to stick to films and TV shows with positive, upbeat messages. Choose feel-good or funny movies for dementia patients.
  2. Do not choose long movies. These can be hard to follow, especially since memory challenges are a hallmark of dementia.
  3. Similarly, pick movies with easy-to-follow plots. Films with many characters or several interwoven plot points can be too complicated for seniors with dementia.
  4. Lastly, do not choose films or TV shows that are clearly intended for children. Seniors with dementia do have cognitive difficulties, but they are adults who deserve respect. Treat their whole person with honor and do not infantilize them.

Good Movies for Seniors with Dementia on Netflix

An older man holding a mug and pointing a remote.

Today we’re focusing on a few wonderful movies and shows that are easily accessible on Netflix. Unfortunately, one downside to streaming is the constant rotation of available movies. At the time of writing, these are all available, but be sure to check that these are still streaming on the service.

Classic Movies on Netflix

As we mentioned in our introduction, nostalgic films are a wonderful option for seniors with dementia. Many older, good movies for seniors with dementia are streaming on Netflix. These aren’t all truly classic films, but they are older movies that still hold up with time.

  • Annie
  • Driving Miss Daisy
  • She’s All That
  • Sixteen Candles
  • The Four Seasons

Feel Good Movies on Netflix

Nostalgic movies aren’t the only great choice for seniors with dementia. These feel-good, heartwarming films are also easy to follow and full of positive messages.

  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • I’ll See You in My Dreams
  • Jersey Boys
  • Julie & Julia
  • Mamma Mia!
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • The Last Laugh

Feel Good Reality Shows on Netflix

Reality is a category that we think is underrated for seniors. Most of today’s reality shows are fraught with drama and deception, but there are several feel-good, easy-to-follow options on Netflix now. These bite-sized episodes might be a great way to hold the attention of someone with dementia, too.

  • Bake Squad
  • Jeopardy
  • Nadiya Bakes
  • Nadiya’s Time to Eat
  • Nailed It!
  • The Great British Baking Show
Choosing Good Movies for Seniors with Dementia

Anecdotal evidence suggests that watching movies can help seniors with dementia in multiple ways. Cinema can lift the mood and reduce symptoms associated with dementia, including anxiety and aggression. More scientific research reports that films help seniors with dementia hold their attention, evoke memories, and create conversation.

Movies might not be medicine in the strictest sense, but they do create moments of memory and connection. Just like with music, movies can set a mood and spark opportunities. This is true for those dealing with dementia, their caregivers, and everyone else.

Our Thursday afternoon movies are always fun and engaging for our residents and staff. Learn more about enhanced assisted living at The Moments.

Published On: March 28, 2024