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Our top film suggestions for people with dementia

  • Publication date: October 2023
  • Review date: October 2025

The ability of arts and dementia to help families stay together in the face of dementia has been recognised by our specialist dementia nurses. Our list of film recommendations is focused around films which have music, interactivity and simple plotlines at their heart.

Mamma Mia!

What marks Mamma Mia! out is the fact that it’s so interactive. People of all ages regularly sing along to the tunes of Abba, which can help make connections with people with dementia. Other similar recommendations include The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and South Pacific.

Laurel and Hardy

Many people diagnosed with dementia grew up with the slapstick routines of Laurel and Hardy allowing many to reminisce. Their comedic routines can bring enjoyment and distraction. Films like this are also great to share with the wider family. They can even help to provide invaluable connection between children and grandparents with dementia. Another recommendation is Mr Bean.

Top Gun

This may be a suitable choice for younger people diagnosed with dementia. Top Gun’s straightforward plotline can help to hold the attention of the person with dementia. Other similar recommendations for younger people with dementia include Ghost and Pretty Woman.

What sort of films are appealing to people with dementia?

Dr. Hilda Hayo, CEO and Chief Admiral Nurse at Dementia UK, said: “No experience of dementia is the same and families are always best placed to know which films or other activities would appeal to their family member with dementia.

“However there are certain film genres or styles which can be appealing to someone with dementia. This can include films which do not have complex story lines and films where there is a strong action, comedic or musical element.

“We are seeing more and more screenings of films to cater for people with dementia and their families. Some of our very own specialist dementia Admiral Nurses have been involved in bringing these screenings to local communities for example. They undoubtedly help to elevate mood in a person with dementia, helping them stay engaged and connected to their families and wider society.”

For any additional advice on how the arts can be used to help people with dementia or around the condition more generally, please contact the Admiral Nurse Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email helpline@dementiauk.org

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Our free, confidential Dementia Helpline is staffed by our dementia specialist Admiral Nurses who provide information, advice and support with any aspect of dementia.

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