Enabling older people to enjoy the Halloween and Bonfire celebrations
Celebrations such as Halloween and Bonfire Night can provide wonderful opportunities for older people to engage with their local community and help reduce some of the loneliness and isolation that so many experience during the long dark winter months.
But it would be helpful if those out and about enjoying the festivities followed a few simple steps so they don’t cause unnecessary anxiety to others in their community. For example, why not let people know in advance that you will be knocking on their door during Halloween so that they can prepare some treats and not be surprised by the visit.
Similarly, if you’re hosting a celebration, or attending a display, why not invite your older neighbours along? Or at least let them know that there will be some form of firework display taking place to enable people to prepare for the loud bangs and flashes. This may be particularly useful for older veterans some of whom live with mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder. You could consider using silent or low noise fireworks.
You could also visit an older neighbour or veteran in advance of the celebrations and reassure them that you are there for them should they need your help and support. And if you see a poster in the front window saying No Callers, please respect their wishes.
If you are a veteran struggling at this time, please don’t suffer in silence. You can call Combat Stress on their free and confidential 24-hour Helpline for mental health advice and support. Call them on 0800 138 1619, text them on 07537 173 683 or email [email protected]. Non veterans may contact the Samaritans on 116 123.