Patient Referral

Thanksgiving Craft: Activities for Dementia Patients

turkey pumpkin dementia craftLet's talk turkey. Thanksgiving can be a beautiful time for families to gather together. It can also be a challenging time for families caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.

Even though the activities surrounding Thanksgiving are positive, any change in the routine can be upsetting for someone with dementia. Planning a successful holiday meal means planning ahead to meet your loved one's special needs. Consider holding your family meal earlier in the day if your loved one is affected by sundowning.

Special activities for a loved one with dementia like this pumpkin turkey craft will help them understand that the holiday is approaching. At the same time, it is important for families to accept their loved one where they are now and not challenge them to remember names or events from the past. Be patient in your communication and appreciate the time you have remaining with your loved one.

Involving family members of all generations in Thanksgiving activities for your loved one with dementia like our easy pumpkin turkey craft will make it fun for the whole family as you create one more special memory together.

Pumpkin Turkey Craft

turkey craft suppliesWhat You'll Need:

  • Small pumpkin with a stem
  • Several large fall leaves (real or artificial)
  • Brown foam sheet
  • Yellow foam sheet
  • Red felt
  • Googly eyes
  • Safety scissors
  • Glue


  1. Cut the brown foam sheet into the shape of the turkey’s body and feet.
  2. Cut the yellow foam sheet into the turkey’s bill.
  3. Cut the red felt to form the turkey’s wattle.
  4. Glue the turkey’s body to the pumpkin stem and the feet to the base of the pumpkin.
  5. Add the bill and wattle.
  6. Glue the eyes.
  7. Glue the leaves to the back of the pumpkin to form the turkey’s feathers.

Caregiver Tips:

  1. If your loved one is not able to safely handle scissors, pre-cut the foam sheets and felt before starting the activity.
  2. While working on the pumpkin turkey craft, ask your loved one about their Thanksgiving memories. How did they celebrate as a child?
  3. While doing activities with a loved one with dementia, play their favorite songs. See our playlist for a loved one with dementia for ideas.
  4. Get your loved one involved by starting the activity yourself and asking them to join in.
  5. Activities for people with dementia have the best chance of success in the morning between breakfast and lunch when your loved one is well rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again at another time.
  6. Remember: With activities for dementia patients, the goal is for you to have fun doing it. Don’t worry about what the end result looks like.
  7. If your loved one has dementia, a hospice program and hospice care team can provide support for both the patient and family. This added assistance can be key in avoiding caregiver burnout.

Get more ideas for activities for dementia patients.

If you have questions about how Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care supports patients with dementia and their families, please call us at 1-888-564-3405.

If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.
Copyright © 2016 Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care. All rights reserved.

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