This blog post if for you angels out there taking care of a loved one at home suffering from Alzheimer’s. Although it’s a longstanding tradition here at The Birches Assisted Living & Memory Care here in Villa Rica to celebrate Halloween with both our assisted living and our memory care residents, we celebrate a bit differently within our two unique care communities. The scary and ghoulish themes of Halloween can serve a detrimental effect on memory care patients. So we have some things for you to consider in advance of the upcoming holiday.
HALLOWEEN AND ALZHEIMER’S
Halloween is one of the most celebrated days in the American calendar. It is a day rich in history that everyone should celebrate. For decades now, it’s been known to be a favorite day for the kids who would feel their pockets or even bags with candy, fully dressed in a ghoulish costume.
Halloween is characterized by scary costumes and decors which can greatly frighten individuals with Alzheimer’s. It is therefore important to organize Halloween parties that suite people with Alzheimer’s for them to feel loved an included. How can we organize Halloween for seniors? Here are few tips to make this Halloween happy and safe for everyone:
MAINTAIN MINIMAL DECORATIONS
Halloween is all about decorations and costumes. Halloween wouldn’t be the same without them. But extreme decorations don’t go well with people who suffer from Alzheimer’s. Keep decorations to the minimum. Even though it may not guarantee that the patient will not get confused or stressed, maintaining the outlook of the house by decorating minimally celebrates the holiday without causing too much confusion or disorientation. In order to accomplish this, there are some things that one should do or avoid.
- Avoid scary decors.
- Avoid scary and abrupt sounds.
- Avoid using candles or flashlights at night in your house. These can create anxiety for your loved one.
AVOID PUBLIC PLACES
It’s always fun for kids to watch ghosts and goblins at the park during Halloween festival. The same cannot be said about people with Alzheimer’s. This might cause the patient to avoid the place again due to scary memories. The best thing is to take them to a less public and elaborate celebrations.
KEEP THE CANDY IN A SAFE PLACE
There is no Halloween without candy. In the culture of celebrating Halloween, most families, if not all share candy with other kids. It is therefore difficult to keep candy away. Nutritionally, sugary foods have been known to heighten the condition. Many patients won’t control themselves from taking candy. It is therefore important to monitor them or even keep the candy away in a safe place.
PREPARE YOUR LOVED ONE
Although this may prove to be a hard option, it is important to try and explain to your loved one that there will be some commotion around. If you are someone who has stayed with the patient for long, you will have a good chance of getting them to understand. Even so, this won’t guarantee you success because patients with Alzheimer’s lose memory very quickly. Therefore, try to create distractions and carefully and patiently explain any questions that they may have.
Halloween can be a fun filled time for everyone. Just as we take safety measures to protect children during the holiday, we can provide the same precautions for our elderly and those who may suffer from memory conditions.
All of us here at The Birches Assisted Living & Memory Care wish you the very best for a joyful Halloween celebration.