How to Enjoy Bonfire Night with Someone Living with Dementia

Written by Active Minds on Thursday the 27th of October 2016.

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If you feel that your loved one will be happy enjoying a fireworks display with the family, it may be a good idea to limit the types of fireworks that you use in your display. Focus on the milder fireworks, like sparklers, as they are relatively quiet and can be either used by your loved one or watched from afar as others play with them. If you are throwing a bonfire party that a person living with dementia will also be attending, ensure that guests are kept to a minimum as large crowds could cause distress. Make sure that there is a close family member or friend with your loved one at all times so they feel relaxed and secure. That dedicated person can ensure that they are comfortable at all times, they have food, are warm etc, and if the evening does become too much can take them inside as soon as they start to show signs of distress. If you want to enjoy live fireworks but don’t want them to be too intrusive for a person living with dementia, then you could find a bonfire event and watch them from a distance – allowing your loved one to enjoy the spectacle of colours but without the distress of the noise and crowds.

If you feel that your loved one would not cope well with a firework celebration then you can enjoy Bonfire Night inside. Create a bonfire themed dinner, perhaps cooking it together, e.g. sausages, jacket potatoes etc, to engage your loved ones senses and evoke memories. Keep the atmosphere calming and soothing, making sure that you stick to all schedules and routines to keep disruption to a minimum. If the noise from the fireworks outside starts to become too distressing then distract your loved one with a film, music or audio book. You can use headphones to play the music or audio book to shut out the outside noise as much as possible.