There’s definitely no age limit in experiencing the fun of Halloween! Seniors are generally delighted by visits from trick-or-treaters, along with the chance to delight in fall treats and fun decorations. Nonetheless, if an older adult is struggling with Alzheimer’s symptoms, certain components of the Halloween season may be downright frightening. Suddenly, there are unanticipated surprises, visitors, and changes to routine, and it may be tough to separate fantasy from reality.
Imagine, in your daily life, if Halloween was a foreign concept. You walk into a popular department store and are met by larger-than-life inflatables, glowing witches, ghosts, and spiders. In the aisle where you usually find housewares, the shelves are loaded instead with spooky masks, fake blood, and machetes. Has the world gone crazy?
Naturally, the confusion, anxiety, and fear inherent in Alzheimer’s may increase at this time of year, and it’s important for friends and family to do something to help senior loved ones maintain a feeling of calm and routine. Alzheimer’s Universe provides the following suggestions:
- Reduce decorations in the older adult’s home, or eliminate them altogether. In particular, those with flashing lights and loud noises can lead the senior to become scared enough to leave the home.
- If you think trick-or-treaters could lead to more agitation for the older adult, 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 understand the home is not handing out candy this year.
- If feasible and agreeable to the senior, visit another member of the family who lives in a rural area free from trick-or-treaters for the evening.
- If the older adult lives alone, make certain a member of the family, a friend, or a professional caregiver, like those at Live Free Home Health Care, is on hand to stay with the individual.
If the older adult becomes upset or agitated in spite of taking the preventative measures above, try these pointers from the National Institute on Aging:
- Help the senior move into a different room for a diversion from the reason behind the agitation.
- Speak in a quiet, calm voice, and let the senior know she or he is safe and that all is well.
- Turn on soft music and bring out an activity that the individual especially enjoys.
With a little advanced planning, individuals with Alzheimer’s can remain relaxed and content during the Halloween season. The highly trained care team at Live Free Home Health Care is readily 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 consistently provided with compassion, patience, and skill. Give us a call at 603-217-0149 for more information about our trusted senior care services in Concord and the surrounding communities.