Halloween with care

Halloween with care

Blog & Dementia | 24 Oct 2019

Not everyone can imagine how a knock at the door can be intimidating or stressful for an elderly person who may be cautious of strangers or unexpected visitors... so we have put together some top tips to consider this Halloween.

Top Tips for welcoming trick or treaters

Keep visitors outside – Use your front porch or garage to hand out candy instead of inviting guests inside.  

Recruit help – Often, older adults can be stressed from handling Halloween home alone. Invite a family member or friend to help.

Remove hazards – Stairs and front porches are a great place to display flame-lit jack-o-lanterns and other spooky decorations. However, consider removing these items from walking paths as they pose trip hazards to not only you, but also your children whose vision may be impaired by a mask.

Top Tips for 'opting out' of trick or treaters

The pumpkin rule - some areas carry an unwritten ‘no pumpkin’ rule. Children and families who are trick or treating will only visit houses that have a lit pumpkin at their door or in the window.

Post a Sign - You can write a straightforward "Sorry, no trick-or-treating here" or be a little cute with something like "The skeletons took all the treats! Maybe you can find more at the next door..."

Turn off external lights - or you can also bring in any Halloween decorations on your house or in your garden to avoid any additional misunderstandings

Halloween for those who live with Dementia

Those living with dementia can be negatively affected by ‘trick or treating’ as those with a diagnosis can have a different sense of reality as their memory becomes affected. A costume or mask can trigger confusion and distress as they lack the ability to differentiate between fantasy and reality.

A calm environment and routine are important when caring for a person with dementia. Unexpected knocks on the door at night, people in costumes and loud noises can all be disruptive and cause agitation and anxiety.

Follow these 3 tips to reduce stress, anxiety and confusion in your loved one...

Keep decorations to a minimum. Decorations that change the look of the house may lead to anxiety and confusion.

Avoid leaving the treats by the front door. Your loved one with dementia may not know that he/she has dietary restrictions. 

Both you and your loved can tap into a positive memory of past celebrations. Make decorations together to maximize the occasion. Art therapy provides positive stimulation and creative self-expression. And while you are coloring and pasting, play music in the background, preferably from your loved one’s time period, for happiness synergy.