For many, Halloween is a time for costumes, spooky decorations, and trick-or-treating. Unfortunately, many of these traditional celebrations can be overwhelming for a person with dementia. Because this disease affects the ability to process new information, it can be difficult for those affected to distinguish reality from fiction.
By understanding the challenges a person with dementia may experience on Halloween, caregivers can take steps to keep their loved ones safe.
Halloween Safety for Seniors with Dementia
- Be considerate when wearing a costume.
Dressing up is one of the most popular ways people celebrate Halloween. Because your senior loved one might struggle differentiating reality from pretend, costumes can be confusing. They may not realize painted blood is not real or that there is a friendly face behind a scary mask. This may cause them to become scared or anxious.
If you are spending Halloween with your loved one, avoid wearing anything that conceals your identity. Instead, opt for something simple, like a festive tee or holiday-themed jewelry.
- Deter trick-or-treaters.
Trick-or-treaters are a hallmark of Halloween. Unfortunately, the continual ringing of the doorbell can be overwhelming for a person with dementia. Repeatedly opening the door to strangers can make matters worse, especially when they are wearing strange outfits.
Do your best to limit noise by placing your candy bowl on the porch. Or turn off the porch lights and leave a note on the door politely asking guests not to ring the doorbell.
- Avoid the commotion.
On Halloween night, the streets are often busy. Kids are trick-or-treating, neighbors are hosting haunted parties, and people are wearing costumes. The excess stimuli can be a lot for a person with dementia to handle.
Seniors with dementia are usually most comfortable staying inside with a close friend or family member. If no one is available to keep them company, you may want to consider respite care.
- Create a safe room.
Decorating is a common tradition on Halloween. Although it may be fun for you, a decorated house is not always easy for a person with dementia to navigate. They often rely on familiarity and structure, so changing their living space may lead to unnecessary stress.
Do your best to limit decorations. It may even be a good idea to create a safe room. Having a place free from decorations and unnecessary stimuli can be helpful if they become anxious or scared.
Having Fun on Halloween
Caring for a person with dementia on Halloween can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. There are plenty of festive activities you and your loved one can do safely.
Seniors who love to cook may enjoy baking a homemade pumpkin pie. Others may prefer to bring out their creative side by decorating a pumpkin. Sometimes, soothing music and a good meal is all you need to have a nice evening.
Memory Care at Heritage Senior Communities
Predicting possible dangers can be difficult for caregivers. By understanding the challenges a loved one with dementia experiences, you can better prevent accidents.
If you are struggling to keep a loved one with dementia safe, you may want to consider dementia care. Heritage Senior Communities offers specialized dementia care for seniors with memory impairments. Contact us today to learn more.