Engaging and Entertaining your Residents through TED Talks: Part 1

TED TalksFor seniors with an abundance of leisure time, watching TV is a natural way to pass the time and fend off loneliness or boredom. TV viewership among seniors is at an all-time high, as researchers from the University of California, San Diego , have found that people over 65 watch three times more TV than younger adults. In fact, the elderly spend a quarter of their time in front of the television.


Unfortunately, the programming that these seniors tend to favor, such as the local news or game shows, can be bland at best and depressing at worst. Although the desire to stay in the loop about current events is commendable, excessive television viewing isn’t the healthiest way. As an activity director, it’s great to help seniors to get out of their rooms and away from those gloomy local news stories. Instead, to encourage the desire to stay informed and engaged with what’s happening in the world, why not host viewings of TED talks?


TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, and is a nonprofit organization that makes high quality talks and performances on a wide variety of subjects from its conferences available online to the public. These talks run the gamut from inspirational to humorous and cover topics ranging from technology and pop culture, to historical events, psychology and medicine.


By organizing a group viewing, you’ll encourage residents to get out of their rooms and interact with the people around them. Furthermore, the talks themselves will help engage their minds and keep residents sharp and interested.


Here are some things to think about when choosing TED talks to watch with your residents:

  • Look for talks related to the current season or holiday that you can tie back to other activities or programs at your facility.
  • Find a lecture about a historical event or a time that your residents might have lived through.
  • Watch one of the many lectures on aging process and how to age gracefully.
  • Find talks that encourage learning something new.
  • Look for talks labeled “inspirational” or “beautiful” to encourage and motivate your seniors.
  • Have residents ask their grandchildren or other loved ones for fun topics.
  • Do a survey with your seniors and ask them what they would like to learn more about.
  • For any topic, look for lectures that will spark discussion and get your residents talking.

Look for upcoming posts from us with suggestions on specific TED talks to watch with your residents.  Tell us, have you hosted a TED Talk with your residents?