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Watching the News – Is It Bad for Seniors?


According to a recent article in the New York Times, Life Time, a gym chain company with 130 locations in 27 states, made the decision to remove cable news programs from its large-screen TVs, effective January 2018. This decision applies to both left and right-leaning news programs, including Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.

A spokesperson for Life Time made a statement implying that TV news was removed from the gyms because it is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Recent studies tend to support that conclusion. Watching the news can be bad for seniors’ mental health, with the risk of impacting physical health.

According to an article in Psychology Today entitled “The Psychological Effects of TV News,” a recent study found that watching negative news can affect a person’s mood and exacerbate worry over personal problems. A constant stream of shocking, frightening, and depressing news leads to stress. It is a well-known medical fact that chronic release of “fight or flight” stress hormones can lead to a host of health problems, including sleep disorders, digestive disorders, weight gain, heart disease, memory impairment, anxiety, and depression.

Why Does the News Tend to Be So Negative?

When you watch the news on a regular basis, it can appear that only bad things happen, and the world is falling apart. Terrible, depressing events are not the only things going on. However, sudden disaster is more compelling and much more “newsworthy” than the gradual improvements and many positive events occurring each day in the world all around us.

The fact is that news is a business. Negative sensationalism in the news has been increasing for decades as journalists compete for shocking news stories with high “entertainment” value. The result is that we are being bombarded on a daily basis with unimaginable disasters presented in a depressing, emotionally-charged, sensational manner.

Protecting Your Health from an Excess of Bad News

Many seniors are in the habit of watching the news to keep up with current events. Some people see it as a civic duty to stay abreast of what is going on in the world around them. However, bear in mind that many good things are occurring every day that are never reported in the news because they lack sensational value.

If watching the news is depressing you and affecting your mental and physical health, it is perfectly okay to turn it off and go for a walk instead. Medical experts agree that walking provides many health benefits for seniors, including a boost to mental health.

Home Medical Alert Systems for Seniors

Based on recent studies, limiting your exposure to negative news could help improve your mood and diminish your worries. Home medical alert systems can give seniors the peace of mind of knowing they can get help on the way immediately in a medical emergency. Our medical alert reviews are a convenient way to compare home medical alert systems to help you choose the system that is right for you.

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