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Blog: Hospice Views

Fabric Pumpkin: Activities for Dementia Patients

fall dementia craft

Halloween is an exciting time of year for kids. But for families caring for a loved one with dementia, it can mean extra worries and safety concerns.

Those who decorate for the holiday should focus on friendly pumpkins like the fabric pumpkin craft below and general fall décor instead of witches and ghouls that could frighten a loved one with dementia. Ensure that pathways both in and out of the house are kept clear to prevent falls.

Make a plan for Halloween night so your loved one with dementia isn’t confused by ringing doorbells. Either keep your lights off and refrain from handing out candy or sit outside to hand out treats to your young visitors.

Keep your loved one with dementia involved in the holiday activities with fun and easy crafts. Use these crafts as a time to share old stories of favorite moments from their childhood and costumes you each wore in your youth.

Fabric Pumpkin

What You’ll Need: 

  • 14-20 inch square of fabric
  • ½ cup of small pebbles or beads
  • Polyester stuffing
  • 4-5 inch branch
  • Quart-sized Ziplock bag
  • Rubber band
  • Scissors

Steps:

  1. Cut the fabric into a circle. 
  2. Fill your Ziplock bag with the pebbles.
  3. Add stuffing to fill the rest of the bag.
  4. Place the branch into the center of the bag.
  5. Zip the bag closed on each side around the branch
  6. Place the rubber band over the branch.
  7. Fold the fabric up and tuck it into the rubber band to form the pumpkin.

See more activities for dementia patients.

Caregiver Tips

  1. If your loved one is unable to use scissors, cut the strips of fabric in advance.
  2. An easy way to cut a circle is to fold the fabric into fours. Measure a mark between 7-10 inches on each side. Then cut the fabric from one mark to the other.
  3. If necessary, add a ribbon around the stem to cover any awkward edges around the pumpkin stem.
  4. 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.
  5. Even though your loved one may not remember names or things that happened in recent days, they may still remember their childhood. Talk to them about parties they remember from growing up.
  6. 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.
  7. Remember that the goal is to have an engaging activity with your loved one with dementia. Don’t worry about the end result.

 

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.

 

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