Ask any child, and they’ll likely list Halloween as one of their favorite holidays. The chance to wear a costume, to trick-or-treat, and, of course, all that candy!
Halloween is a fun holiday, partly because it’s a break from the everyday routine - but routine is important when planning activities for a loved one with dementia. Making your home a safe space will help ensure a positive holiday experience.
Plan Ahead for Trick-Or-Treaters
Ringing doorbells in the evening can be confusing and upsetting for someone with dementia settling in for the night. If you still want to hand out candy, sit outside to distribute it to the neighborhood kids, so they don’t have to knock. Another option is to leave a large bowl of candy outside the door with instructions for your young costumed friends.
Keep candy in a safe place as your loved one may not remember that they have dietary restrictions. Also try to avoid rearranging furniture - change can be very hard on a loved one with dementia. If you’re decorating, avoid anything that could be a tripping hazard. Alzheimer’s disease often affects balance, so it is important to keep walkways clear and well lit.
Avoid Scary Decorations
Your kids may love the hanging bats, tombstones on the lawn, and cackling witches, but the changes can be troubling to someone with dementia. Instead create an activity for your loved one with dementia to make happy decorations like these Halloween Cup Characters.
Halloween Character Cup Decorations
What You'll Need:
- Plastic Cups (in brown, green, black, and/or orange)
- Pipe Cleaners
- Googly Eyes
- Construction Paper or Jack-O-Lantern Stickers
- Optional: Acrylic Craft Paint (if you can’t find the colors you need, you can paint your cups)
- If needed, paint your cups the color needed for your character.
- Glue googly eyes to your cup.
- Use the construction paper or stickers to make a face.
- Add pipe cleaner legs for a friendly spider.
- Ask your loved one about their Halloween memories. Did they have a favorite costume?
- While doing activities with a loved one with dementia, play their favorite songs. See our playlist for a loved one with dementia for ideas.
- Get your loved one involved by starting the activity yourself and asking them to join in.
- Activities for people with dementia have the best chance of success in the morning between breakfast and lunch when your loved one is well rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again at another time.
- Remember: With activities for dementia patients, the goal is for you to have fun doing it. Don’t worry about what the end result looks like.
- If your loved one has dementia, a hospice program and hospice care team can provide support for both the patient and family. This added assistance can be key in avoiding caregiver burnout.
Get more ideas for activities for dementia patients.
If you have questions about how Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care supports patients with dementia and their families, please call us at 1-888-564-3405.
If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.
Copyright © 2016 Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care. All rights reserved.