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The Stress of Fireworks on Seniors

The Stress of Fireworks on Seniors

Reducing Sensitivity and Confusion for Those with PTSD and Dementia

While most of us enjoy the excitement and beauty of fireworks around Independence Day, these explosive displays can be anything but a reason to celebrate for people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and seniors with dementia. Random explosions and noises from Fourth of July celebrations can trigger a startle response. For those suffering from PTSD, these triggers can remind them of their trauma. For seniors with dementia, the loud noises are unfamiliar, potentially causing confusion and fear and exacerbating dementia symptoms. With careful preparation, however, caregivers and families can keep those sensitive to fireworks safe and comfortable while still enjoying the holidays.

Guidelines to Prepare for Fireworks

Here are some helpful tips that will enable you to continue to enjoy Independence Day celebrations.

  • Provide Company and Comfort.  Don’t leave your loved one alone during fireworks. If you are unable to spend the evening with your loved one, consider having a caregiver help for the night.  
  • Provide distraction from the noise. Fireworks can sound like gunshots, which can be scary to an elderly veteran who may start to relive their past. Consider playing their favorite music or an audiobook through earphones to keep their mind engaged in something pleasant. 
  • Keep it simple. Avoid flashy decor or decorations that make noise. Place decorations where seniors with dementia will not trip over them.  
  • Avoid busy crowds. Fourth of July celebrations can get quite crowded. Celebrate by hosting a small get-together with family and friends. 
  • Explain that there will be loud noises. Prepare your loved one beforehand and explain that there will be large booming sounds, so they are not surprised by the explosions and are better able to prepare for them.
  • Make it fun. Engage your loved one by making crafts, baking Fourth of July-themed desserts and decorating the house. This will help them express their creativity and may help to recall special traditions or gatherings from years past. 

Holidays like Independence Day are the perfect time to form new memories. Looking after seniors with dementia or PTSD does not mean you need to sacrifice celebrations. With enough preparation, this can be a special, fun time for everyone.

Oasis Senior Advisors provides this information to help you care for the seniors in your life. Oasis works to connect older adults and their families with helpful resources to care for our aging population. To learn more about how our local Oasis advisor can benefit you and your loved one, contact us at (888) 455-5838. One call can offer many solutions for a senior in need.