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Dementia-Friendly Activity: Freshly Planted Pumpkin Mums
October 21, 2022

For this dementia-friendly Halloween activity, you will need: 

 

  • Pumpkins
  • Mums
  • Potting Soil
  • Marker
  • Large Spoon
  • Knife

SAFETY TIP: CARVE FIRST

For safety purposes, you may choose to have the tops of your pumpkins carved out with a knife before sitting your loved one down to get their hands dirty. To carve out the perfect-sized hole, gently remove the mums from their plastic containers. Then, using the marker, trace a circle around the edge of the plastic container over the top of your pumpkin – this will mark the size of the hole you need to carve. Once traced, go ahead and carve out the top piece of your pumpkin and discard.

DEMENTIA-FRIENDLY TIP:

Pumpkin mums can make for cute additions to the steps or hallways of your home, but doing so may increase your loved one’s fall risk. Instead, consider placing your pumpkin mums on a table as a centerpiece.

Freshly Planted Pumpkin Mums

One of Halloween’s most popular trademarks is the spooky decorations cast from door to door across the street. Cobwebs, scarecrows, ghosts – you name it! Unfortunately, while dressing up your home like an eerie haunted house might seem like fun, it could become rather distressing for your loved one with dementia. According to Eagle Senior Living, for older adults who experience lapses in judgment and memory, Halloween can introduce increasingly overwhelming feelings of confusion and disorientation often triggered by frightening decorations. However, that does not mean that all Halloween ornaments have to be completely off the market for your household. Instead, consider adding an alternative for Halloween decor to your homestead with this dementia-friendly inspired activity: planting some fresh pumpkin mums!

Let’s Get This Dementia-Friendly Activity Started!

Once your pumpkin top has been carved out (review Safety Tip), invite your loved one to join you in scooping out the innards and seeds from the pumpkin with a large spoon. This may take a little muscle work, so monitor your loved one for any signs of fatigue and take breaks as needed. Consider working on your own pumpkins individually yet side-by-side so you can use your body language and social queues as a way to mirror and guide your loved one through this portion of the activity. 

Now, your pumpkins do not need to be fully hallowed out, but do make sure to dig out enough room for your mums to fit snuggly. Next, pour some of your potting soil into the base of your pumpkin. The goal here is to add just enough soil to create a bedding for your mums to sit on while also ensuring that the plant sits about an inch below the top of your pumpkin. Once your bedding has been added, you and your loved one can go ahead and plant your mums into the pumpkin, pressing down around the soil and adding a bit more to fill in the gaps as needed. 

Finally, finish up this dementia-friendly activity by watering your mums and picking out the perfect place to dawn your newest Halloween decor! Your freshly planted pumpkin mums will surely brighten up any space with some joyous festivity while also giving your loved one with dementia an exciting gardening outlet to look forward to caring for every day!

Dementia Friendly Activity: Pumpkin Mums
Dementia Friendly Activity: Pumpkin Mums

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We're a nonprofit organization based in Mesa, Arizona with three senior day club locations (and a fourth on the way) which serve older adults with Alzheimer's, dementia, Parkinson's, and various other physical or cognitive challenges. Life does not end with a diagnosis. Our members continue to learn new skills, enjoy new discoveries, make friends, laugh, and live a joy-filled life. Our team of dementia experts lead support groups, events, classes, and private sessions with caregivers and families, guiding them on the best methods to care for their loved ones while also caring for themselves.


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