There’s certainly no age limit in experiencing the excitement of Halloween! Older adults generally are thrilled by visits from trick-or-treaters, and also the chance to savor fall treats and fun decorations. However, if an older adult is dealing with Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, certain components of the Halloween season might end up being downright frightening. Unexpectedly, there are unexpected surprises, visitors, and changes to routine, and it can be hard to separate fantasy from reality.
Consider, in your own everyday life, if Halloween was a foreign concept. You walk into your favorite store and are met by larger-than-life inflatable, glowing witches, ghosts, and spiders. In the section in which you generally find housewares, the shelves are occupied instead with scary masks, fake blood, and machetes. Has the world gone mad?
Naturally, the distress, anxiety, and fear inherent in Alzheimer’s may be heightened at this time of the year, and it’s important for friends and family to take steps to help senior loved ones maintain a sense of calm and routine. Alzheimer’s Universe provides the following suggestions:
- Reduce decorations in the older adult’s home, or cut them out altogether. In particular, those with blinking lights and loud noises could potentially cause the senior to become frightened enough to leave the home.
- If you anticipate that trick-or-treaters might result in anxiety for the older adult, leave a bowl of candy out on the porch with a note for kids to take one. Or, turn the porch light off so families know the home is not handing out candy this year.
- If possible and agreeable to the senior loved one, visit a friend or another member of the family who lives in a remote area free from trick-or-treaters for the evening.
- If the senior lives alone, make sure a family member, friend, or professional caregiver, like those at Morning Glory Home Care, is on hand to stay with the individual.
In case the senior becomes distressed or agitated in spite of taking the preventative measures above, try these suggestions from the National Institute on Aging:
- Help the older adult move into a different room for a diversion from the reason for agitation.
- Talk in a soft, calm voice, and let the older adult know she or he is safe and that all is well.
- Turn on soft music and bring out an activity that the senior especially enjoys.
With a little upfront planning, those with Alzheimer’s can remain calm and content through the entire Halloween season. The specially trained care team at Morning Glory Home Care is always on hand to supply strategies to help with the numerous intricacies of Alzheimer’s, and to partner with families with professional in-home care – as much or as little as needed, and consistently supplied with compassion, patience, and skill. Give us a call at 618-667-8400 for more information on our top-rated dementia care in Belleville, IL and the surrounding areas.