If you are the caregiver of someone who suffers from dementia, you know that certain changes in routine or location can cause great anxiety in your loved one. The holiday season is a time that causes welcomed disruptions in most people’s lives, but unfortunately this means that the happiest time of the year can cause painful discomfort for individuals suffering from dementia.
With Halloween around the corner, there are certain things to keep in mind if you are caring for someone with dementia. Ghosts and ghouls may be fun for the kids, but the change in stimuli and distractions of decorations can cause a negative reaction in your loved one who may not understand the context of the changes.
If you care for someone with dementia, here are some tips to consider for a comfortable Halloween celebration.
5 Halloween Tips for Dementia Caregivers
- Keep indoor decorations to a minimum. As you know, any change in surroundings can cause great confusion and anxiety for someone with dementia. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a consistent environment in the home. If you choose to decorate, make sure that decorations are simple and not scary. Avoid decorations that produce loud noises or have strobe lights, which can cause your loved one to become scared in their own home.
- Be mindful of outside decorations. Avoid elaborate animated Halloween displays and distracting noises on the exterior of the house as well. These items may frighten your loved one and cause them to not want to leave or enter the house in a normal manner.
- If you decide to have friends or family over for a Halloween celebration, make sure you keep the guest list small. Having too many people over may be confusing for an individual with dementia. It’s best to have a limited number of people who are familiar to your loved one.
- With an abundance of candy around during this time of year, it’s important that you are staying vigilant. Be very careful about leaving candy around the house. If your loved one is well enough to walk around with your children as they trick-or-treat, monitor any sugar intake, especially if they have dietary restrictions. Additionally, be careful with small pieces of candy, especially if the individual has trouble with swallowing or is at risk for choking.
- Constant doorbell ringing or trick-or-treaters at the door can also cause an increase in anxiety for your loved one. Come up with a plan to prevent the doorbell from ringing all night, whether that is leaving candy outside, or even sitting outside if there is someone to watch your loved one inside. If you are caring for someone who lives alone, it might be best to stay with him/her for the night, or ensure that another friend or family member is with him or her during this time.
Halloween can be a lot of fun for kids and families, but it can be a source of scary anxiety for your loved one with dementia. If you loved one needs assistance in the comfort of their own home, contact us at 24/7 Nursing Care for information on our companion and nursing services. We provide professional in-home assistance tailored to the unique needs of our clients. We look forward to hearing from you.
Happy Halloween! Top tips and products for someone with dementia to enjoy. (2017, September 28). Retrieved September 28, 2017, from https://www.unforgettable.org/blog/happy-halloween-top-tips-and-products-for-someone-with-dementia-to-enjoy/
Alzheimer’s & Halloween: 9 Tips to Make It Less Frightening. (n.d.). Retrieved September 28, 2017, from https://alzheimerscareresourcecenter.com/alzheimers-halloween-9-tips-to-make-it-less-frightening/