A dementia carer's survival guide to Bonfire Night

Posted on November 4, 2019
A dementia carer's survival guide to Bonfire Night
2 min read

“Remember, remember - the 5th of November…”.

Bonfire Night marks the anniversary of Guy Fawkes’ failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament. For most people across the UK, it’s a great occasion to get together with friends and family and watch dazzling firework displays and bonfires.

However, if you are looking after an older relative, you may find yourself split between wanting them to join in the celebrations and making sure they don’t get scared or confused. People with dementia in particular can find the excess of noise and activity challenging and distressing, but this shouldn’t prevent them from making the most of Bonfire Night with their loved ones.

Check out our tips for enjoying a fun and peaceful Bonfire Night.

Make a plan

It’s important to let the person with dementia know what’s coming up, even when this means having to remind them multiple times. Ask them what they feel like doing and, whatever their preference, make sure they are not alone the night of the fireworks.

Check out when and where the local fireworks are going to take place and if the neighbours are planning to light some fireworks themselves. This way, you’ll know when to be there to reassure your loved one, and you may decide to take them to a relative or friend to avoid being too close to where the firework display is going to be.

Choose an event that is right for them

If the person with dementia wishes to attend a bonfire or firework display, gather as much information as possible ahead of the event about the site accessibility.

Make sure the event features guided walkways and clear viewing areas, and that it will be possible for you to find a quieter area from which to view the fireworks, away from big crowds.

What if something goes wrong?

If you are attending a firework display and realise it might be too much for the person with dementia to handle, reassure them and take them to a quieter area.

Also check on whether they are wearing warm enough clothes. People with dementia may not realise or be able to tell you if they’re cold, so make sure they keep warm, or get them a hot drink to warm up.

Alternatives to Bonfire Night fireworks

If your loved one with dementia does not wish to attend the fireworks, there are still plenty of activities you can enjoy to celebrate Bonfire Night.

Cooking and sharing some traditional Bonfire Night food such as jacket potatoes, hotdogs and toffee apples can be a lot of fun and can help bring back happy memories from their youth.

If they wish, you can watch fireworks from inside, away from the crowds, cold and noise, or light up some sparkles at home.

On the night, if you are afraid that flashing lights and big bangs may scare them, make sure to keep the curtains closed and watch some TV or listen to some of their favourite music to cover the noises from outside.


Are you looking for home care? SuperCarers connect families across the country with local home carers who meet their care needs. Whatever type of care you need, from dementia to learning disability support, we can help you find the right person to keep your independence at home. Call us on 020 8629 1030 to find out more.

You may also be interested in our top tips for dementia care at Christmas.

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