The excitement for Halloween is the same among children and adults, alike. Where children are super excited about the tricks and treats; adults including the elderly, look forward to it as this event makes them nostalgic. They recall their childhood Halloween memories, which bring a smile on their face. Indeed, Halloween is a fun time for many, but for seniors with dementia, it can cause fear and even put their safety at risk.
So, whether you’re a professional offering in-home care assistance to a senior with dementia; or a family member serving as a caregiver, you need to make sure that the surroundings are safe for them so that they can enjoy Halloween, just like everyone else.
Here are some of the best safety tips to help you get started:
Keep Decorations to a Minimal
Though scary costumes and decorations are what make Halloween spooky and thrilling, such things can cause fear in seniors with dementia. As dementia results in mental impairment and memory loss, it’s hard for patients to remember that it’s Halloween and if everything around them will be spooky, they might get scared. And that’s exactly why scary décors like cackling witches, goblins, tombstones in the lawn, and hanging bats, abrupt sounds, and flashlights at nighttime can stress them, and lead to fear and anxiety. Therefore, keep decorations to a minimal or use happy decorations like smiling pumpkins.
Avoid Rearranging the Setup of the Home
To ensure safety of your loved one with dementia, it’s best to keep the surroundings clear and avoid rearranging the furniture. This is because rearranging the furniture can increase the risk of tripping as dementia can often affect the patient’s balance. So, keep entry ways, floors and porches clear. Also, make sure that they are well lit.
Make Sure to Keep Candy Away from Your Loved One with Dementia
It’s important to keep candy away from seniors with dementia because sugary foods are known to trigger and heighten this condition.
Plan Tricks or Treats Ahead
During Halloween, it’s common to have children clad in scary costumes ringing the doorbell every now and then. All this can be overwhelming for people with dementia. Therefore, to make sure that the bell doesn’t ring too often, keep a bowl of candy outside at the front door with a note that says “Take one please.” This will help children avoid ringing the bell or knocking the door, and make them happy too.