We look at ways for people affected by dementia to continue enjoying festivities, both indoor and outdoor, during autumn this year.
This article was first published in 2018. Be sure to follow the guidance on coronavirus whatever you do.
For people who grew up celebrating them, Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night can evoke strong memories.
This year, other festivals falling around this time include Navratri and Diwali or Hindus, and Guru Nanak Gurpurab for Sikhs.
A person with dementia could enjoy organised firework displays or community events, though noise and crowds may limit this as the condition progresses. For people who can’t take part in this way, festivals can still prompt conversation about how celebrating them has changed over time and place.
You may be able to enjoy your own indoor or outdoor fireworks, with the usual safety precautions, or watch them on TV or YouTube. For an ‘indoor bonfire’, make a triangular frame from cardboard tubes (paint them or wrap in coloured paper) then cover with twigs and coloured strips of paper to represent flames, and eat baked potatoes or parkin cake.
As well as eating them, planning and making traditional foods can also be fun. Perhaps create new food traditions – use icing, sweets or fruit to decorate cakes, which could be readymade or from cake mix. If traditions like trick or treating could cause distress or confusion, then a polite sign on the door might help.
More ideas are included in our guide Taking part: activities for people with dementia.