How fireworks impact people with Alzheimer's, dementia

Amanda Aguilar Image
Tuesday, July 5, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

While fireworks are staples for the July 4 holiday, they can create challenges for those who have loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- While fireworks are staples for the July 4th holiday, they can create challenges for families who have loved ones living with dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

"My mom goes, 'What is that?'" recalled Floripez Mitchell.

For Floripez Mitchell, the holiday can be a difficult time. Her 93-year-old mother, Esperanza, has Alzheimer's disease.

"Every time that sounds, she thinks it's a gunshot," said Mitchell.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, loud sounds can cause over-stimulation, confusion, agitation and it could be a trigger for veteran's living with Alzheimer's or dementia.

"It could trigger fear that they're being harmed," said Susana Rodriguez, Northern California's regional director.

Rodriguez added it's important to reassure the loved one that they are okay and safe.

"Redirect them," she said. "Distract them."

Floripez Mitchell tells her mother: 'I'm right here, mama. Right here. I'll take care of you. Nothing is going to happen.'

Mitchell said, similar to Sunday night, she will be playing a game with her mother with doors and windows shut.

"Play Loteria -- Mexican bingo. So she enjoys that, or just play with our cards, just something simple," she said.

The Alzheimer's Association has its 24-hour hotline available, where family members can call if their loved one isn't responding well to the fireworks. The number is 800-272-3900.