Five tips for enjoying fireworks

by Will Hunt

Five tips for enjoying fireworks

1. Plan ahead

Ahead of fireworks night, let the person with dementia know it’s coming up. You may be able to gauge how they feel about the festivities and whether or how much they’d like to be involved. Some people with dementia may not want to be alone on fireworks night but also not wish to participate, so finding something you can do together may help. Speak to neighbours about their plans too. If they’re setting off fireworks nearby, this may be distressing for someone with dementia. The person may prefer to go somewhere else for a while.

2. Attend a professional event

Hot chocolate, toasted marshmallows and bonfires - firework events can be great fun for all the family. If you do plan on going to a local display, be sure it’s professionally run. Some events may include a low-noise firework display. Official events also adhere to strict fire and safety regulations to keep everyone safe on the night.

3. Stay comfortable

To help the person with dementia feel more comfortable, check that there aren’t too many people, too much activity, loud noises, sudden movements or an uncomfortable environment. For example, if a set of fireworks is too close or bright. If it does get too much, it’s good to have someone on hand to take the person inside, to a quieter area (near the back), or back home again. The person you’re caring for may feel the cold far more than you do but may not realise it or be unable to tell you. Encourage wearing layers of clothing, ideally with natural fibres like cotton and wool. Drinking hot beverages can also help people stay warm, but check that the drinks are not too hot before giving them to the person. Some people may decide to wear eardefenders or earplugs.

4. Create an alternative fireworks night​ There are lots of ways a person with dementia can enjoy fireworks if they do not wish to go to an event. You may want to use sparklers if you have outside space at home. Or you could watch the displays from a distance or inside the house to enjoy the spectacle of colours without loud noises or large crowds. You could also watch shows on television or online. A bonfire night dinner is also a fun way to celebrate the occasion. Cooking favourite foods, such as jacket potatoes, spring rolls, curries or hotdogs, can help evoke memories (and taste delicious!)

5. Avoid fireworks altogether

Fireworks are not for everyone, and that’s okay. If the person is distressed by the noise or bright flashes, consider alternative activities you can enjoy together, such as films, audiobooks or music.

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