People With Dementia May Find Halloween to be a Frightening Holiday. Here’s How You Can Aid

Halloween might be unsettling for a person with dementia when there are suddenly spooky decorations and several knocks on the door from strangers.

According to specialists, it is possible to keep a family member who has the illness secure and at ease while simultaneously allowing them to participate in a low-key holiday celebration.

According to Jennifer Reeder, director of educational and social services for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, “Families can make adjustments to enable their relatives living with dementia have a safe and joyful Halloween, like with many other traditions.”

In a foundation news release, Reeder urged caregivers to “take a few quick and easy actions to preserve the ‘Happy’ in ‘Happy Halloween’ on October 31.”

The foundation’s specialists advise modifying the celebration by thinking back on previous Halloween-related attire or events while perusing old family photos. Watch a Halloween-related show that’s not frightening.

Give your loved one fruit or other wholesome treats. A sugar overload might make people more agitated.

The foundation advises against leaving a loved one with dementia alone to dole out candy to trick-or-treaters since it could be frightening, confusing, and dangerous. However, for others, it may be possible to have them assist.

Play some relaxing music, engage in a quiet pastime like reading a book together, or offer reassuring words.

Avoid decorations that could cause anxiety, such as phoney skeletons, cobwebs, witches, and monsters. Avoiding exposure to interactive decorations that talk or scream as someone walks by or have lights that flash or flicker is especially crucial. Even within their own home, these can frighten a person with dementia and prompt them to go away.

The organisation advises residents to keep their lights on both inside and outside their homes so that robbers and vandals won’t assume the residence is empty. Another candy option is to place a bowl outside the entrance with the words “Please take one” written on it.

A professional social worker is available to chat with seven days a week at the AFA Helpline at 866-232-8484 or online at

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For additional information on dementia, see the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCE: A news release from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

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