Help Aging Parents: Halloween–a Treat for All Ages (updated 2016)

Taking aging parents and elders we care about
to see the Halloween displays

Who doesn’t enjoy Halloween decorations! They’re becoming increasingly widespread. Indoors and out-of-doors these decorations are so much more elaborate than the orange, carved, candle-lit pumpkins–and perhaps a black cat or witch– sitting on the front porches of our childhood homes. However…..aging parents and older people we care about may not have the pleasure of seeing them.

Here’s how to remedy this–

Country Farm Stand in Oct.

Country Farm Stand in Oct. Can you see the tractor in back?  Click to enlarge.

Whether in the country or the city, various-shaped, and even white-creamy-colored-pumpkins, along with Halloween themed inflatables–plus ghosts skeletons, and witches–are common sights. Every year it seems more suburban and urban homes and commercial

Halloween Pumpkins


establishments dress up for Halloween. Even New York City townhouses get fancied-up for the occasion–a friendly ghost, a sedate townhouse’s front stoop. And sidewalks yield surprises.  Isn’t this a perfect time to make plans to talk older people out for a great change of scenery?

In addition to daytime outings, consider an evening drive when lighted Halloween displays create a theatrical atmosphere.

Whether it’s day or night, how many old and/or somewhat infirmed people rarely go out, spending their days indoors–at home or in assisted living or more structured care facilities?  Still others don’t drive–or don’t drive unfamiliar roads or at night. 

img_5418For older people who are able to get into a car–with or without our help–going for a ride provides countless opportunities for stimulation and lifted spirits. Anticipating the event is an added bonus if we make the date ahead of time.

It turned out to be a dreary day for an outing we had a few years ago–yet we had smiles on our faces as each Halloween display came into view. There was anticipation as we turned a corner to a new block. img_5451We never knew what to expect, although I did a “dry run” ahead of time several years ago to scope out decorated neighborhoods. They haven’t disappointed.

While a drive to the country or suburbs is a change of pace for city dwellers, cities and small towns yield their own attractions if we know where to find them. And let’s not forget the store windows and–for those who like to walk or use a wheel chair–why not explore the malls.

Any outing is always a win-win: stimulation, companionship and something to think about long after the event itself. Indeed we know major studies confirm that connections with others and stimulation are important factors in aging well.

We may have limited free time and our elders may have limited staying power, in which case a “dry run” could be in order. Whether carefully planned or spontaneous, the benefits of a ride–long or short–are clearly worth the time and effort.

Aging plays so many unexpected tricks on older people. Isn’t is great when we can give them a treat!


Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Click links to timely information and research from respected universities–plus some fun stuff–to help parents age well.

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