All Hallow’s Eve is the time for candy, black cats, and costumes. But while many indulge in the spooky holiday, caregivers may find this to be a stressful time for their loved one. People with dementia have a hard time comprehending their surrounding environment and may react to the change in stimuli. Here are five tips to help make Halloween less frightening.
1. Keep decorations to a minimum
Adding on too many decorations and lights may change your loved one’s perception of the house and cause high anxiety and stress. Help your loved one create their own Halloween decorations. Art therapy helps raise positive stimulations and self-esteem.
2. Keep Candy out of Reach
Candy is and always has been one of Halloween’s biggest cultural aspects. Whether you’re handing out to trick-or-treaters or munching some on your own, be sure to keep the candy out of reach of your loved one. He/she might not be able to monitor their own intake and dietary restrictions.
3. Put Candy Outside
On Halloween night, children of all shapes and sizes will be galloping door-to-door to collect as much candy as possible. The constant ringing of the doorbell may frighten your loved one, so it’s advised to leave candy out on the front porch for trick-or-treaters to grab without disturbing the residence.
4. Eliminate Candles and Lights
Avoid the use of nighttime candles and light-up pumpkins. The spooky shadows will trigger a change in visual perceptions and heighten a person with dementia’s anxiety.
5. Avoid Public trick or treating
Trick-or-treating in shopping malls may be safer for children, but for seniors with dementia, it can be a safety hazard. Seeing little ghosts and goblins running around and coming across spooky decorations may alter your loved one’s perception of that special place and make them too scared to come back.