Halloween causes severe fear and confusion in dementia sufferers


Halloween is a fun time for many, dressing up, collecting as many sweets as possible and joining in on the community spirit. However, for dementia sufferers, Halloween can cause severe fear and confusion.

According to the experts at Radfield Home Care services, Alzheimer’s and dementia can cause a blurred sense of reality, and therefore unexpected knocks at the door, scary masks and fearful costumes can trigger distress as they lack the ability to differentiate between fantasy and reality.

Not everyone will realise that an elderly person may feel afraid and be intimidated by visitors and strangers at their door in the evening when it’s dark. For a person with dementia, scary masks and costumes are a blur of reality that can trigger confusion and distress. Or, that disruption to their routine and environment can be difficult for them to deal with.

As Halloween has spread in popularity across the UK some areas carry an unwritten ‘no pumpkin’ rule. Children and families who are trick or treating will only visit houses that have a lit pumpkin at their door or in the window. Unfortunately, not everywhere adheres to this rule so Radfield have created a friendly ‘No Trick or Treat’ poster for their clients.

Radfield stresses that they don’t want to stop anyone else having fun by celebrating Halloween but do ask that people show compassion and understanding for the elderly and vulnerable.

The objective is to raise awareness within local communities to respectfully avoid visiting the homes of any elderly people or those with dementia who want to ‘opt-out’ of Halloween.

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