Pilgrim Hat Place Card: Activities for Dementia Patients

thanksgiving dementia craft pilgrim hat place holder

Thanksgiving is a cherished holiday because of its focus on family and tradition. When someone in your family is coping with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias, it’s important to plan ahead so you can have a holiday gathering that meets your loved one’s needs.

Thanksgiving may be the first time some family members are interacting with this loved one since their dementia diagnosis. Explain to your family in advance where your loved one is in the disease progression so they know what to expect in terms of interaction and memory. Explain that your loved one may not remember some people or that they may repeat themselves. Ask guests to be patient and to try to avoid correcting or arguing if they get confused. If guests will be doing an activity with your loved one with dementia or giving them a hug, ask them to tell this person in advance so that they understand what is happening.

Talk to your loved one before guests arrive so they all know what to expect from the day. Changes in routine – particularly meal times – can be upsetting for some individuals with dementia. Try to schedule your Thanksgiving meal around the same time they typically eat to avoid confusion.

Most importantly, include your loved one in the festivities wherever you are able. If they need to rest, take them to a quiet room for a break, but don’t ignore them throughout the day. Crafts and other activities for your loved one with dementia should be planned so members of the family can interact and engage in a positive way.

The pilgrim hat place cards below are an easy craft that will let your loved one and other family members have fun and help decorate the table while waiting for your Thanksgiving feast to finish cooking.

Pilgrim Hat Place Cards

What You’ll Need:

  • Mini terracotta pots
  • Black felt
  • Foam sheet in yellow or gold
  • Acrylic paint in black and a variety of bright colors
  • White paint pen
  • Paint brushes
  • Clear Glue
  • Safety scissors


  1. Cut circles from the black felt that are slightly wider than the mini pots to form a brim for the hat.
  2. Cut buckles from the yellow foam sheet.
  3. Paint each pot black. Let dry.
  4. Paint the rim of the pot a bright color. Let dry.
  5. Glue the pot to the black circle.
  6. Using the white paint pen, write a guest’s name on the hat band.

See more activities for dementia patients.

Caregiver Tips

  1. Depending on your loved one’s current abilities, you may need to cut the buckles in advance.
  2. While doing activities with a loved one with dementia, engage them in conversation. Play music they enjoy softly in the background to create a positive mood.
  3. Even though your loved one may not remember names or things that happened in recent days, they may still remember their childhood. Ask them about growing up and their favorite Thanksgiving memories.
  4. Activities for people with dementia have the best chance of success early in the day when your loved one is well rested. If they don’t want to participate or get frustrated, don’t force it. Try again another time.

Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to support patients with dementia and their families. Please call us at 1-888-564-3405 to learn more about how our unique care programs help provide a higher quality of life for dementia patients while helping caregivers avoid burnout.

If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.
Copyright © 2018 Crossroads Hospice & Palliative Care. All rights reserved.

Related Content
Heart Icon

Want to give back?