Published 5th November 2019
Bonfire Night marks the historical anniversary of Guy Fawkes and his failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. This event has, over time, transformed into a tradition of family firework displays and blazing bonfires.
For many these are wonderful and exciting demonstrations, however, fireworks can be extremely difficult for people affected by certain conditions. For example, the noise emitted by fireworks is very similar to the sound of gunshots and this can be extremely challenging for war veterans who may suffer with PTSD. Furthermore, fireworks can have an adverse impact on those who suffer with conditions such as dementia and epilepsy.
As a carer of someone who is affected by firework displays or noise, bonfire night can be a difficult period of time to navigate. Regardless of whether you attend an event or decide to give it a miss, here are a few tips to help you in your caring role while also enjoying yourself.
If you care for someone who suffers from a condition such as dementia, (depending on the stage of dementia your cared for suffers from) it may be worth explaining that bonfire night is coming up. You can gauge whether they would like to be involved or whether planning something else may be best. Many people who are affected by fireworks will not wish to be left alone. If you live in an area where there are lots of firework displays, it may be worth talking to your neighbours about their plans and whether they intend to set off fireworks. Choosing to go somewhere else for the evening or visiting family or friends may help in preventing the person you care for being triggered by loud noises.
Consider alternative activities to do on Bonfire Night which the person you care for can enjoy. This could include watching the firework displays from a distance where the noise is muted. Bonfire Night is also a great opportunity to enjoy other activities such as sparklers, family games or cooking a wonderful dinner which everyone can share and enjoy.
For some conditions, especially if someone is severely affected or triggered by loud noises and disruptions, Bonfire Night will not be okay. If this period does prove to be highly distressing for the person you care for there are methods to help calm and diffuse the atmosphere. If you are unable to go somewhere else and avoid fireworks then using devices such as headphones with either film or audio can help cancel out the sounds. Making sure the curtains are closed can also help prevent flashes of light. If your cared for is distressed, it is best to remain calm yourself as this can be one of the most effective methods of reassurance.
If the person you care for is affected by fireworks it doesn’t mean that Bonfire Night can’t be made enjoyable for everyone. Depending on your individual circumstances there are different ways to make this time of year special and fun filled.