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Halloween Safety Tips for Seniors

Halloween Safety Tips for Seniors

Halloween can be fun for kids and adults alike, but for some seniors – especially those who live alone – it can be a frightening time. Masked strangers and constant knocking can contribute to uneasiness during the holiday. Constantly getting up and down to answer the door can increase the risk of a fall.

There’s also the fear of unexpected pranks and possible vandalism: Insurance claims show that Halloween is one of the worst days of the year for homeowners and auto claims related to theft and vandalism.

But that doesn’t mean older adults should get spooked by Halloween. After all, why should they miss out on the fun? By following a few Halloween safety tips for seniors, it can be a joyous and rewarding evening no matter what your age.

Halloween Safety Tips for Seniors

  1. Go outside to give out candy, if possible.
    Never let trick-or-treaters into your house or let anyone in to use the phone or bathroom. If weather permits, hand out candy from the porch. If you can’t go outside to hand out candy, use the peephole to see who’s at the door before opening it.
  2. Keep pathways well lit.
    That way you can see who’s there and you can be seen. Pathways also may have uneven pavement or bricks or may be slippery from rain. Reduce your fall risk by staying close to your home in a well-lit and open area.
  3. Don’t let decorations impede the view.
    Make sure they don’t block the light or views of main entrances, such as the front door, and make sure they aren’t in the way of trip trick-or-treaters.
  4. Don’t use lighted candles as a decoration.
    Lighted candles can be a hazard to you and to trick-or-treaters, whose costumes could catch fire. Use battery-operated candles instead.
  5. Clear floors and hallways.
    Make sure there aren’t obstacles on your path to the door. That includes stray cords, shoes, books, or other things that could trip you and cause you to fall.
  6. Remember: You’re never too old to dress up!
    If you dress up, be sure the mask (if you wear one) provides a clear view. Your costume should allow easy movement and shouldn’t be a falling or tripping hazard.
  7. Invite a friend or family member over to help.
    If you feel uncomfortable giving out candy by yourself, having someone with you may make it less stressful and more fun!

Safety Tips for Seniors with Dementia

Confused Senior man

Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, who may already be anxious, may find Halloween especially upsetting. Halloween can be confusing and can trigger behavioral problems because of environmental changes, strange people in and around the house, masked visitors, misperceived threats and fear of the unknown.

Also, Halloween occurs around sundown, which can be a particularly difficult time of the day for people with dementia. Sundowner’s Syndrome is a state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and spanning into the night that occurs in people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Never leave a person with dementia at home alone on Halloween. Have someone stay with them or take them to another setting such as an event at a senior center or a family member’s home for a few hours.

Tips for Seniors Who Don’t Want to Give Out Candy

If a senior has dementia, is physically unable, or doesn’t want to hand out candy themselves, there are a couple of things they can do:

  1. Put candy in a bowl on the porch with a sign that says, “One candy per person, please.”
  2. Ask a neighbor to give out candy for you and put a sign on the door that says, “Candy for this house being given out next door.”

There’s some debate over whether to leave a light on outside if you aren’t giving out candy at all. On one hand, leaving the light off is a sign that no candy is being given out. But it’s also a sign there’s no one home, increasing the risk of vandalism or burglary. It may be better just to leave the porch and inside lights on and put a sign on the door that says, “Sorry, no candy at this house.”

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According to the AARP nearly 90% of older adults want to age in place and maintain their independence. An important factor in aging in place is a safe home with minimal risks. The Maine Move can perform a safety assessment to identify risk factors and help get necessary modifications made. Up to 50% of home accidents among seniors can be prevented by proper home modifications and repairs!

Call us for a complimentary consultation to assess your needs 207-313-3797.

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