Making fireworks night, fear free

As we all look toward the national celebration of Guy Fawkes night on November 5th, it is often in our minds that for many of our clients, this event isn’t the fun filled celebration it appears to be.

  • Conditions such as Dementia can mean that the sights and sounds of this evening can be confusing and distressing, and even if there is not a diagnosis in place, older members of our community may have lived through the distress of war and conflict and for them, fireworks simply sound like bombs. It’s a distressing thought, but we feel that there are ways to prepare for this period. Here are a few simple guidelines:

  • If you can spend the evening of 5th November with your loved one, or can organise some company for them, do consider doing so
  • If fireworks are likely to bring back frightening memories to a war veteran, consider playing their favourite music, or even an audio book through earphones to distract them
  • Draw the curtains slightly earlier than normal and turn the TV or radio volume up just a little more than usual. This can also help to reduce anxiety for pets too, if you have them
  • Keep any decorations to a minimum and try to avoid bright or flashing ones
  • If you are keen to include your loved ones in family celebrations, perhaps consider keeping gatherings low key, and with just a few people
  • Have a conversation with your loved one beforehand and explain what they can expect to see and hear. If they are prepared and realise that they will be distracted by another, pleasant task, the event may not be such a daunting prospect. Watching a favourite film, or completing a favourite puzzle whilst listening to music could work well
  • If you have pets, remember to keep them inside on this occasion and may be listen to the Pet Friendly selection on Classic FM, 6.00pm-10.00pm on 5th November
  • If your loved one is keen to be involved in preparations, let them! You could engage in some art therapy and make decorations, seek out a favourite recipe from times gone by and bake firework themed biscuits or cakes together, or perhaps read a Guy Fawkes inspired history book if that’s a genre that your loved one is interested in

Looking after an older loved one with Dementia on this occasion can be challenging but with preparation, our hope is that it can be managed and perhaps even enjoyed.

We wish you and your loved ones a pleasant 5th November.