Our top tips to help you enjoy a stress-free fireworks night
It’s the time of year to wrap up warm, dig out our gloves and scarves and head out to enjoy the festivities that Bonfire Night brings. But although many enjoy a blazing bonfire and a spectacular fireworks display, it can be a distressing time for those with dementia. Whether you’re attending a display, or prefer to stay away from the crowds and the noise, we’ve listed our top tips to ensure Bonfire Night is as stress-free as possible.
Planning is key
If you’re thinking of attending a fireworks display, it’s a good idea to discuss your plans fully with the person with dementia. You’ll be able to gauge whether they are happy to be part of the festivities and whether they are comfortable attending a potentially crowded and noisy event. If you have the green light, try to go to an officially organised fireworks event. These will provide the best environment for you as they will adhere to strict fire and safety regulations and provide clear pathways to view fireworks and bonfires safely.
Wrapping up warm is the obvious action to take at this time of year especially with the elderly. Dress in warm layers and, wearing a scarf around their mouth and neck will protect them from breathing in cold air which otherwise could bring on chest infections. Encourage them to enjoy hot drinks throughout the evening to keep them warm – hot chocolate always goes down a treat at a fireworks display! You may also want to consider ear defenders to lessen or cancel out the noise of fireworks.
Watching the display from a safe distance will also ensure that your loved one feels comfortable in their environment and that they don’t feel overcrowded by other spectators at the event.
Assess the situation
Keep an eye on the person you are caring for to make sure they are still happy in that environment. If you find they are becoming distressed, talk to them calmly to reassure them and of course remove them from the situation that is causing the distress as soon as you can.
If attending a fireworks display is too much, it’s worth remembering that being alone on fireworks night can still be a daunting experience for some. Company could be a welcome distraction and alleviate any anxiety felt around the celebrations and loud bangs. Check with neighbours to see what their fireworks plans are, so that you’re prepared and consider what distractions you could provide to focus their attention elsewhere. Organising your own celebrations, from garden sparklers to a Bonfire Night dinner, could be a great diversion from the festivities outside. Other activities to consider include soothing music or a favourite film or tv programme.
If you have any concerns or would like more advice about fireworks night, please contact the National Helpline team at the Alzheimer’s Society on 0300 222 11 22.