Author Care Inspectorate
Date 25/07/2023
Resource Type Care Inspectorate Publication

Film in care

Watching a film can be a meaningful, therapeutic activity for older people living in care homes. The Film in Care resource provides a practical guide on how to present film to people living in care homes in a way that will be most beneficial to them. It has been written in partnership with two Dundee University researchers who carried out their own original research on this topic.

The resource contains 10 Core Principles for Film in Care, which is intended to give you a basic ‘how to’ guide for film screenings within your own homes, while also complying fully with current Covid-19 guidance to ensure screenings are conducted as safely as possible.

The benefits of film in care have been shown to include improved moods, sleep, physical health, companionship and more. The link to the principles within the Health and Social Care Standards is apparent in all areas. 


We worked with staff in four care homes to carry out their own film screening events with the people who live there. Throughout the resource, you will see many quotes from the staff and people who live in the care homes on how they personally experienced or witnessed the success of these screenings. Staff in the care homes incorporated aspects such as special movie snacks and screening areas to help people fully relax within their own home and just enjoy the film. In some circumstances, relatives were able to view films with their loved ones.

In a post-covid world it is more essential than ever that older people enjoy lives which are personally fulfilling, meaningful and which allow home to feel like home. The Film in Care resource is a perfect way to bring a greater sense of normality back to life within the care home setting.

We hope that this will inspire you to view film as a way of providing meaningful, enriching experiences to older people living in care homes.

For a link to the original research please see University of Dundee website.

Get in touch

We are also inviting services to share their comments and feedback, their own experiences, or to get tips on running their own screenings by emailing us:


Blog: how films can help people to remember the past, enhance the present and share the future

By Dr Jenna Breckenridge (University of Dundee) Dr Ana Salzberg (University of Edinburgh) and Lisa Maynard (Care Inspectorate)

We all have DVDs on our shelves and favourite films that we love to stream or catch on television – it’s easy to take them for granted. But did you know that film screenings can enhance the wellbeing of older people who live in care homes? Films can help to lift mood, encourage physical activity, spark conversations about both the past and modern-day issues, and connect different generations.

Long-standing research by Dr Jenna Breckenridge (University of Dundee) and Dr Ana Salzberg (University of Edinburgh) into the impact of social film screenings in care homes found that watching films can help people to reminisce about the past while improving their lives in the present. Regular film screenings also give the entire care home community something to look forward to in the future. You can read the original research paper here or watch Jenna’s @AHP2minute talk on the project here.

Jenna and Ana used their research to develop a set of core principles for using film in care most effectively. In collaboration with Lisa Maynard from the Care Inspectorate, they supported staff in care homes across Scotland to use a quality improvement approach to test these principles in a series of improvement projects within their own settings. They then combined the learning from both the research and improvement work into a new resource called “Film in Care”, published with the Care Inspectorate. You can access it here.

Film in Care outlines 10 key principles for using film to bring together people who live and work in care homes. It contains practical guidance for care homes on making the most meaningful use of film. The resource is intended to be used flexibly, adapted to different needs and environments. As Lisa points out, “Film in Care’s intended wellbeing benefits for older people directly matches to the Health and Social Care Standards in Scotland and can be adapted by homes using an improvement mindset.”

Even though people sometimes think that watching a film is a passive activity, the research team found that people engage with film in different ways. Film is an important form of escapism for many and helps generate memories that can be shared between people who live in care homes, as well as with staff and visitors. You might be surprised to find out that the team also found that watching films can promote physical activity, with people who rarely took part in physical activity dancing, clapping, and swaying through musical numbers.

If you are using film in a care setting, it is important to discuss the screenings with the viewers themselves. Highlight the options: what kind of film do you want to watch? Do you have any favourite stars? Involving people in the decision of which film to watch creates important opportunities to express preferences and make choices.

Another key principle is to allow everyone to watch films in their own way, whether that means talking throughout, walking in and out or even having a little snooze during the film. As Jenna points out, “When we first started this project we found that some care homes put on movies for half an hour then turned them off when people started chatting or fell asleep. But people don’t have to pay attention throughout a film to enjoy the experience and the company.” Ana adds, “There is no right way to watch a film! The important thing is that people can watch films the way they want to.”

It also enhances the viewing experience when different members of the care home community – people who live there and people who work there – sit down together. People who live in care homes often feel more comfortable when staff members are present and engaging with the film. In similar terms, screenings can also be shared with care home visitors too, to enable inter-generational experiences.

Please get in touch at if you have any questions about the project! The team always love to share recommendations for films and stories about best practice, so don’t hesitate to drop us a line.



Dr Jenna Breckenridge, University of Dundee

Dr Ana Salzberg, University of Edinburgh

Lisa Maynard, Care Inspectorate

Arts in care

A practice resource to inspire and enable you to support older people to enjoy engaging in creative arts and improve their health and wellbeing.

Supporting people’s wellbeing

All resources take an improvement and person-centred approach. They focus on supporting people to stay active, connected, and doing things that matter to them, regardless of their health or age.

Visiting, meaningful connection, Anne’s Law

Every adult and older person living in a care home has the right to connect with family, friends and community.