Fireworks and Sundowning, Not a Happy 4th Of July

As if sundowning weren’t enough of a challenge for those with dementia and their caregivers we add fireworks to the mix on this day.

Here are a few suggestions that may help make things a bit less stressful for you and your family.

  • Talk to the person in your care about the holiday and what it means to him or her. Listen to their stories of picnics past and how they showed their pride in their country.
  • Encourage them to talk about fireworks. Were they exciting and fun or too loud and scary?
  • Even someone who once loved fireworks may react very differently now. For veterans the effects of sundowning and the popping sound may bring back the trauma of battle. In either case it helps to prepare before the explosion of sound and light begins.
  • If you live near a place where you see and hear fireworks from your home you should prepare them for what will happen. They may not remember later but you never know what will help on day like this and it’s worth a try.
  •  Early in the day may be a good time to show them a video of fireworks. Here is a link to many of the displays available for viewing on YouTube http://bit.ly/2tHZa1q. Turn the sound off before showing it to the person in your care.  Explain that they may see these lights in the sky later that night and you will sit with them until it’s over.
  • If even the silent display is upsetting, close the blinds and drapes in their room before sunset to block out the flashing lights. Play music he or she likes using ear buds or head phones if possible to mask the noise. If these devices are not available or practical in your situation, play the music any way and sing or dance along with it to distract them, they may even join you.

I hope these tips help, they are among the things I did as a caregiver. Sometimes Dad was fine and other times  the 4th of July was a very long day indeed.

If you have a hint or suggestion that may help others, please share it here.

 

 

 

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