Many people with dementia have fond memories of Halloween. They may remember going trick-or-treating when they were children or taking their own children trick-or-treating. Seniors with dementia can still look forward to Halloween festivities and enjoy the following fun and safe activities.
1. Watching Halloween Movies
Watching Halloween movies is a great activity for seniors with cognitive deficits. While your senior loved one shouldn’t be exposed to scary films, he or she may enjoy funny movies featuring cute ghosts, nice witches, and happy children trick-or-treating. You can also ask your loved one which Halloween movies he or she enjoys, then run a mini movie marathon.
2. Distributing Candy
Giving out candy to trick-or-treaters is another fun Halloween activity for seniors with dementia. It’s best to have your loved one sit in a chair by the front door so he or she can watch as the children approach the house. This way, kids won’t constantly ring the doorbell, which could make your loved one feel afraid, anxious, or confused.
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3. Revisiting Halloween Memories
Talk to your loved one about how he or she spent Halloween as a child, and invite some of his or her friends to reminisce. Your loved one will enjoy the company and be happy to share his or her Halloween experiences. Don’t encourage your loved one too much to come up with answers about past experiences. Some seniors may be embarrassed because of their forgetfulness, so keep the conversations light and fun.
4. Decorating Cookies and Making Witches Brew
Give your loved one a pastry bag filled with frosting so he or she can pipe it onto the cookies. Also, fill small cups with raisins, chocolate chips, and colorful sprinkles and sugars so your loved one can feel creative and artistic when decorating. In addition to decorating cookies, your loved one may enjoy making “witches brew” punch that consists of orange sherbet and carbonated ginger ale or lemon-lime soda. If your loved one has dietary restrictions, ask the physician if he or she can have a little treat, as long as it’s in moderation. You shouldn’t ask your loved one to decorate cookies and make punch if he or she isn’t allowed to taste them.
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5. Dressing Up
Dressing up in a Halloween costume may put a smile on your loved one’s face. He or she can pick out a costume at a local party store, or you can help him or her make one. Take plenty of pictures and post them on a wall or bulletin board where everyone can enjoy them. While it might be fun to vote for the best costume, some seniors with dementia may feel sad if they don’t win, so it’s best to forego the “best costume” contest.
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