Halloween is an enjoyable time of year for most of us, whether adults or children. However, for older people with dementia and/or physical limitations, Halloween can evoke negative feelings and fears. These may contribute to undesirable behaviours leading up to Halloween and on the night itself.
Moreover, the issue of security and safety arises when strangers visit in the twilight and evening hours. This is a challenging time of day for many older people, especially those with dementia, and it doesn’t create a safe environment for elderly individuals.
Ensuring the safety of our elderly population on Halloween while still allowing them to enjoy the day in their own way is feasible with a few considerations and interventions.
Halloween Safety Tips for the Elderly:
- Keep all floors, entryways, and porches free from decorations.
- Install night lights in hallways, walkways, and rooms to keep them well-lit.
- Avoid window decorations that obstruct light or the view of the front entrance.
- Spend the evening with the older person and be available to answer the door to keep them safe.
- Do not leave the person at home alone on Halloween.
- Take them to a community event or a family member’s home and return home after dusk.
- If possible, arrange for a companion or professional to be with them from 4pm to 10pm (or overnight).
- Assist them in answering the door and handing out sweets if they wish.
- Watch a movie or listen to music in another room away from the front door if possible.
- Be prepared with books, albums, crafts, favourite foods, etc., to provide enjoyment and distraction.
- Adhere to dietary instructions and avoid overindulgence in chocolate or sugary treats.
- Keep in mind that Halloween may not be a joyful time for those with dementia, as it can be frightening and create additional stimulation due to doorbells, fireworks, and general noise outside. Be sensitive to their tolerance levels and do your best to keep them safe and ensure an enjoyable evening for them.
We hope you find these tips useful for navigating the Halloween period!
Have a safe and enjoyable weekend 🎃 👻
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