Halloween is a favorite time of year for many of us, young and old alike. The costumes, parties, and trick-or-treating are time-honored traditions enjoyed by people of all ages. But for someone who has Alzheimer’s disease, Halloween can be downright frightening.
Halloween can trigger anxiety and confusion in people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
If you are a caregiver for someone who has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, here are some ideas to help keep them safe this Halloween.
Tips for Keeping a Senior with Alzheimer’s Safe on Halloween
There’s always uncertainty about how someone with Alzheimer’s will react in new situations. Here’s what you can do to help them stay calm and comfortable during this spooky celebration.
1. Choose Decorations Wisely
Decorating your house with tombstones, cobwebs, bats, and ghosts might seem harmless, but they can cause anxiety for someone with dementia. That also extends to front yard decorations, especially if it is the entrance your loved one typically uses to enter the house. Instead, opt for pumpkins, mums and less threatening forms of decorations this year.
2. Decorate Sparingly
If you do decide to decorate, do so sparingly. A change in environment is tough for someone with memory impairment. Going overboard on Halloween decorating can change the look of your home. That may cause your loved one to become disoriented or confused.
3. Keep Nighttime Lights to a Minimum
Illuminated jack-o-lanterns, flashing lights, candles, and anything else that lights up the night can cause problems with visual perception. People with dementia often have perception problems already, and these types of lighting can exacerbate these issues.
4. Try a Less Invasive Way of Handing Out Candy
A constant stream of costumed strangers ringing the doorbell can cause anxiety and agitation for an older adult with memory impairment. People with dementia rely on a consistent sense of place and home in order to feel calm and comfortable. All those invaders begging for candy and screaming ‘trick or treat!!’ can be difficult to process.
Try putting the candy on your porch with a note for kids to help themselves. If you’re afraid they’ll help themselves a little too much, consider setting up shop on the porch while your loved one with dementia stays safely inside.
5. Be Mindful of Where You Place Decorations
Adults with dementia often develop vision problems, as well as difficulty with mobility. It puts them at greater risk for falls. As you are decorating for Halloween, think carefully about your loved one’s pathways and be sure to keep them clear.
Heritage Senior Communities in Michigan
Just like you, we want adults with dementia to enjoy every holiday and special occasion without sacrificing their sense of safety or their dignity. It’s at the core of what we do each day.
If you are looking for dementia care for a Michigan senior you love, we can help. Call the Heritage Senior Community nearest you to learn more!