There’s definitely no age limit in experiencing and enjoying the excitement of Halloween! Seniors typically are thrilled by visits from trick-or-treaters, along with the chance to enjoy fall treats and fun decorations. Nevertheless, if a cherished older adult is dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, certain aspects of the Halloween season might be downright distressing. All of a sudden, there are unanticipated surprises, visitors, and changes to routine, and it can be difficult to separate fantasy from reality.
Think about, in your everyday life, if Halloween was a foreign concept. You go to your favorite department store and are greeted by larger-than-life inflatable, glowing witches, ghosts, and spiders. In the aisle where you commonly find housewares, the shelves are occupied instead with scary masks, fake blood, and skeletons. Has the world gone crazy?
Naturally, the confusion, anxiety, and fear inherent in Alzheimer’s might be heightened at this time of year, and it’s necessary for friends and family to take action to help cherished older adults to maintain a feeling of calm and a sense of routine. Alzheimer’s Universe offers following suggestions:
- Reduce decorations in the older adult’s home, or skip them altogether. Specifically, those with blinking lights and loud noises could cause your loved one to become frightened enough to leave the home.
- If trick-or-treaters might cause anxiety for the senior, leave a basket of candy out on the porch with a note for kids to take one. Or, turn the porch light off so families know the home is not handing out candy this year.
- If feasible and agreeable to the senior loved one, visit another relative who lives in a rural area free from trick-or-treaters for the evening.
- If the senior lives alone, make sure that a member of family, a friend, or a professional caregiver, like those at Inspired Home Care, is on hand to stay with the person.
If the senior becomes distressed or agitated in spite of taking the safety measures above, try these pointers from the National Institute on Aging:
- Help the senior move into another room for a distraction from the cause of agitation.
- Communicate in a peaceful, calm voice, and let the senior know he or she is safe and that all is well.
- Turn on soft music and bring out an activity that the senior especially enjoys.
With a little advance planning, individuals with Alzheimer’s can stay calm and content through the entire Halloween season. The highly trained care team at Inspired Home Care is available to supply strategies to help with the many intricacies of dementia, and to partner with families with professional in-home care – as much or as little as needed, and always supplied with compassion, patience, and skill. Contact us at 847-787-7572 for more information about our Barrington memory care and the surrounding areas we serve.