For those living with dementia, Halloween is particularly scary. Not only are the nights becoming darker a lot sooner, but suddenly there seems to be more knocks on the door. After opening the front door, they can be greeted by visitors wearing terrifying masks and creepy costumes; a vulnerable person living alone doesn’t know who these visitors are.
Not only are trick-or-treaters knocking the door scary, but more un-known noises will be heard outside; passing families will be laughing or screaming at Halloween pranks, which can startle someone vulnerable or living alone. More households are starting to decorate their homes in preparation for the spooky festivities; seeing a house suddenly covered with spooky decorations can be unnerving and cause anxiety and stress. We also need to remember that Bonfire Night is only a few days after, so parties may decide to celebrate early and set off fireworks.
How can you support someone vulnerable or with dementia this Halloween?
- Make sure they have someone with them – a family member, friend or Care Assistant can be on hand to either enjoy each other’s company away from the festivities or can help hand out treats to visitors.
- Help keep pathways clear – depending on the neighbourhood, paths to houses can be littered with fallen leaves, causing a hazard. Help out by clearing the pathway and making sure there is a good amount of lighting for visitors to see their way to the house.
- Talk to your neighbours – find out if someone living close to you wants to take part in Halloween this year. If they do, let them know you and/or your children will be round to visit. If not, why not print off a copy of our ‘Beware Who You Scare’ poster which can be placed in windows or at the door to ward off unwanted trick-or-treaters. Click here to print.
- Choose fun decorations – as mentioned above, spooky decorations may cause anxiety for someone living with dementia or vulnerable. The general rule provided by many charities and support organisations is “if it could frighten a toddler or young child, it could frighten someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s”. If you have a vulnerable loved one visiting you this Halloween, choose decorations that are fun and colourful, rather than scary, such as pumpkins. Avoid motion-censored decorations too!
- Distraction – if a loved one does not want to take part in Halloween, or you feel they may become too anxious and frightened, distract them with something they will be comfortable with. Perhaps a good film, or a trip out for the evening?
At Heritage Healthcare, our Care Assistants are there to support our clients, with bespoke care packages tailored to their unique needs. Services include personal care, household help and companionship so no one needs to be alone during Halloween and other festivities. Our expert care team can also support with dementia care, working with family members and external healthcare professionals to create a care plan to the needs and wishes of clients. Care Assistants are trained in many areas of care, with experience and knowledge to provide high-quality support.