Patient Referral

Activities for Dementia Patients: Thanksgiving Placeholder

turkey placeholder

Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday that reminds us to be thankful for the important people in our lives. It's a time for families to gather together and share a meal. When a loved one has dementia, it's important to take some extra steps in order to plan a successful holiday experience.

Try to plan the day around your loved one's schedule. If they do better earlier in the day, plan an earlier meal. 

Be prepared to help your loved one take a break if things become overwhelming. A short rest in a quiet room can do wonders.

Remind family not to argue with your loved one if they misremember a name or other details. Keep the mood light.

You can help prepare your loved one for the holiday by involving them in your holiday preparations. If they enjoy cooking and want to help with the meal, find ways they can help. 

Simple crafts to decorate the table like the Thanksgiving placeholders below are a great way to start the conversation about your holiday plans. They can also be a good way for family members to engage with your loved one is a positive, uplifting way.

What You’ll Need: 

  • Felt sheets in a variety of fall colors
  • Glue
  • Safety scissors
  • Googly eyes
  • Cork


  1. Cut out the body of the turkey.
  2. Cut circles of increasing size from several sheets of felt.
  3. Trim the circles into a rough turkey shape.
  4. Glue each layer until the turkey forms.
  5. Add a beak and eyes.
  6. If you want to get extra fancy, you can add a pilgrim hat.
  7. Glue the turkey to the cork.
  8. Once it dries, you can display the turkey as decor or add a toothpick with a name flag to each turkey for your holiday table.

See more activities for dementia patients.

 Caregiver Tips

  1. 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.
  2. Even though your loved one may not remember names or things that happened in recent days, they may still remember their childhood. Ask about favorite colors or clothing they used to wear or how they celebrated holidays as a child.
  3. 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.
  4. 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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