Halloween is a time when young children dress up as their favourite action hero, princess, or cartoon character and collect delicious candy from neighbours, family, and friends. However, for the elderly, especially those living alone and who may suffer from Dementia, this time of year can be confusing and at times worrisome.
Here are some safety tips we gathered to help your elderly loved one stay safe during this annual event.
🎃If your elderly loved one lives with you and/or is able to provide Halloween treats for neighbouring trick-or-treaters, you may wish to follow some of these simple precautions:
Keep all floors, entryways and porches free of decorations, as they may become tripping hazards.
Add night lights to hallways, walkways and rooms, and keep well lit.
Avoid window decorations that block light or view of the front entry.
Use only safe pumpkin carving tools, light pumpkin with flame-less candles.
Place carved pumpkins outside to keep decaying smell and bugs outside.
If walking outside, beware of leaves on the sidewalk. Wet leaves cause some slippery conditions, so be extra careful on pathways covered with leaves.
Spend the evening with them, be available to help answer the door.
Talk softly and reassure your loved one that he/she is safe.
Play soothing music or create some other type of positive distraction (such as offering a favourite snack).
When done with candy, or at dusk: Put a sign on the door, “Sorry No More Candy”.
🎃If your elderly loved one lives alone and may be suffering from mild to moderate Dementia, or has limited mobility, consider these options:
Take them to a community event or family home, and return home after dusk.
Send a companion or professional to be with them from 4:00-10:00 or overnight.
Help them answer the door and hand out candy if they wish.
Put out a sign when done, that says “Sorry No More Candy”.
Watch movies or listen to music in another room away from front door if possible.
Be prepared; books, albums, crafts, favourite foods, etc. to enjoy and distract.
Follow dietary instructions; avoid any overindulgence of chocolate or sugar.
Those in the moderate to late stages of Alzheimer’s & Dementia may be frightened and confused by costumes and Halloween decorations. It may also cause fear and undue anxiety from the ringing of doorbells, knocking on doors, loud noises, and movement outside their home. Whatever options you choose, creating a sense of calm and tranquillity that evening will help keep them safe and feeling secure.