Who are the people most likely to hand out candy on Halloween???—Baby Boomers! The baby boom generation was the first generation to celebrate Halloween the way we do today. Baby Boomers, people born between 1946 and 1964 were the first generation to send their kids out trick or treating who had also done it themselves. They knew how much fun it was. They are now the first generation of grandparents to do it! Another reason they are more likely than others to give out candy on the big night—they are home to do so.

Halloween, while fun for most, can be a difficult time for someone with dementia. Unexpected knocks on the door and loud noises can disrupt daily routines. The costumes of the children and teens can also be frightening to someone easily disoriented. What can you, their caregiver do to lessen the stress and anxiety they may experience? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Stay with the person during trick or treat time. The increased noise and activity outside their home may cause them to be frightened. Your presence can calm and reassure them that everything is okay.

  2. Talk about what is going on beforehand. Remind your loved on that it is Halloween and what they can expect.

  3. If you cannot be with them in their home that evening, post your phone number for them so they can call you if they feel threatened.

  4. Don’t turn on your porch light unless you want trick or treaters.

  5. If no one can be with the person at their home on Halloween night, think about bringing them to your home or a friends so they are not alone.

  6. Be prepared with distractions—make a movie night, do a craft, read them a book, bake cookies—anything to distract them from the activity outside their home.

  7. If necessary, consider professional help from a caregiving agency such as Lori’s Angels.

For those seniors that want to participate in the fun of Halloween, here are a few tips to enjoy the holiday and remain safe.

  1. Many people are afraid to have strangers know they are elderly or disabled and live alone. For those that want to great the children/teens and give out candy, consider having someone stay with them for the event. This gives the impression that the person doesn’t live alone. Leave the porch light on and several interior lights. This also gives the impression that more people may be in the home. Another idea is to go to a neighbors to give out candy. You can post a sign on your door that you are at the next house passing candy out. That provides you with company and a safety net.

  2. If you are going to be out driving during trick or treat time, be careful! Pedestrian/car accidents are one of the biggest concerns on Halloween night. Use extreme caution when backing out of a driveway—better yet, ask someone to keep watch for you and guide you as you back up. Drive slowly especially through neighborhoods—kids move fast and are not always dressed in light reflective clothing.

Above all, don’t forget your loved one on this Halloween holiday. Most seniors look forward to this holiday just as everyone else does. They enjoy seeing the children having a blast and want to be part of the festivities. Help them be a part of the fun and be safe at the same time.

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© 2015 by Lori"s Angels / Home Health & Support Services