Thanksgiving Centerpiece: A Craft for Dementia Patients

thanksgiving dementia craftThis month, families across America will be gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving with turkey, sharing old memories and making new ones. In addition to the holiday, November also marks National Alzheimer's Disease and Awareness Month (NADAM) and Family Caregivers Month®, a time set aside to honor the millions of caregivers who devote their time to caring for someone with a form of dementia.   

There are more than five million families in this country who have a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. For those families, holidays can be an especially challenging time because any change in the routine can cause added confusion and anxiety.

Involving your loved one with dementia in the planning and decorating for the holiday can help prepare them for the event. This Thanksgiving Centerpiece craft can be made from items gathered on a walk around the neighborhood or with items from your local craft store.

When planning your Thanksgiving activities, remember that an earlier meal can be better for Alzheimer’s patients who suffer from sundowning, which is increased anxiety, confusion and agitation in the late afternoon and evening.

thanksgiving craft itemsWhat You’ll Need:

  • A long, flat basket or tray
  • Leaves, acorns, other fall foliage decor
  • Two candle holders or small lanterns
  • Battery-operated candles



  1. Place your candle holders or lanterns in the center of the basket a few inches apart.
  2. Surround them with leaves, pinecones and acorns. You can also include fruit like oranges and pears.
  3. Add the candles to each lantern.
  4. Place the basket in the center of your holiday table.


Caregiver tips:

  1. Pillar candles may be used with supervision instead of lanterns.
  2. Get your loved one involved by starting the activity yourself and asking them to join in.
  3. Activities have the best chance of success in the morning between breakfast and lunch when your loved one is well rested, and, as explained, that’s also the best time especially as seasons change and sundowning can be developed. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again at another time.
  4. Remember that the goal is for you to have fun doing the activity. Don’t worry about what the end result looks like.
  5. If your loved one has dementia, ahospice care team can provide support for both the patient and family. This added assistance can be key in avoiding caregiver burnout.

See more dementia craft ideas or caregiver tips on ourPinterest board.

If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.

Copyright © 2015 Crossroads Hospice. All rights reserved.

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