Tag Archives: fireworks

Holiday celebration tips for dementia caregivers

I’ve seen many articles this week about preparing pets for the often loud Fourth of July celebrations. It is true that some animals have a severe reaction to the booming blasts of fireworks, so it’s best to keep them indoors and monitor for signs of stress. I feel fortunate that my current crew (one dog, two cats) don’t seem to be bothered much by fireworks.

But the advice made me consider another group who many be overwhelmed by this weekend’s festivities: people with dementia. The noise, the lights, extra people in the house … it can be challenging for someone with dementia.

Here are some dementia caregiving tips on how to navigate the holiday:

  • Remain flexible: If you are taking your loved one to a public fireworks display or parade, be aware of how your loved one is faring and if you see signs of discomfort or stress, be prepared to leave early.
  • Keep celebrations small and low-key: An intimate dinner or small barbecue with a select group of people can help keep your loved one with dementia from feeling overwhelmed. Hosting at your home means that if your loved one wishes to retire early, they can do so with ease.
  • Find fun ways to celebrate: Just because you are stuck at home doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Indulge in a favorite meal, play festive music, dance, or watch a favorite movie. Take time to connect in simple ways.
  • Don’t feel guilty if things don’t go as planned: Those with dementia can have good and bad days, and it can be hard to predict what mood they will be in at any given moment. If an event or gathering proves too much for them, don’t be too hard on yourself. Once your loved one is comfortable again in a safe environment, take a moment for yourself. Learning from our mistakes is key in being a successful caregiver.

Photo by Jingda Chen on Unsplash.

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Fireworks and Sundowning – Not a Happy Fourth of July — The Imperfect Caregiver

A good reminder that not everyone reacts well to fireworks, including people with dementia. (This can also apply to people with autism and pets, among other groups.) Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

As if sundowning weren’t a challenge for those with dementia and their caregivers we add fireworks to the mix on July 4th each year. A person who once loved fireworks may respond differently now. For someone with dementia, the loud pops and explosions can trigger memories of wartime experiences causing a return or worsening of […]

via Fireworks and Sundowning – Not a Happy Fourth of July — The Imperfect Caregiver

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July 3, 2018 · 7:16 am

Sparklers on the patio

One 4th of July, our family had our own modest fireworks display. While usually it would be the kid that would be begging the parents for bottle rockets and sparklers to set off, I was a fearful kid. So it was Mom that thought it would be fun to shoot off some fireworks on the 4th of July. I remember the shack that housed the fireworks for sale. It was a sensory overload with the explosion of bright colors and the names of the various fireworks, which might as well have been written in a foreign language.

Of course, Mom being Mom, she chose the most low-key fireworks available.

After dinner, Mom, Dad and I gathered on our patio, which was a tiny slab of concrete surrounded by a wooden fence. Dad soon departed, as Mom didn’t want him smoking around the other explosives. Dad slunk off to the carport area, his other prime smoking area.

We got a couple of things that were supposed to twirl around on the ground, but they turned out to be duds.

I do remember the sparklers, which I held as far away from me as possible, afraid that I was going to set myself on fire. I remember the soft hiss the sparklers made, and how they lit up our faces.

Then the fun was over, and all was dark again. Later, we all gathered again on the patio, to look into the sky and see the professional fireworks display that was taking place a few miles away. The thudding pops were followed by a rain of color exploding in the sky. We stood together as a family, in awe and glee over the spirited display.

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Fear and fascination of fireworks

My parents made the mistake of taking me to a fireworks display when I was about two and I bawled my head off the whole time. As I got older, my love of loud noises didn’t grow, but my fascination with the colorful light display in the sky was enough to make me forget about the noise that accompanied them.

Most years, we attended the local fireworks event that suburban towns have, usually in a park or in the athletic field of the high school. It was a semi-professional affair. There was a lot of waiting around, and then finally, the crowd’s necks turned towards the sky. There were plenty of duds which earned groans from the crowd. My favorite part was the ending, where it seemed the fireworks crew threw up whatever was remaining, creating an interesting and unpredictable mix of colors and patterns.

When I was very young, Dad would put me on top of his shoulders so I could be that much closer to the sky. Then I had my fear of heights and loud noises to contend with!

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