Thanksgiving Activities for Seniors With Dementia

Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. People gather with family members to make this day even more special. They have drinks, play board games, and run a turkey trot. But not everyone can enjoy this auspicious day the same way, with the same vigor. An elderly person with Dementia will struggle to enjoy the traditional activities of Thanksgiving. This is why I came up with some easy pastimes for Dementia patients on the day of blessing.

Here are some fun Thanksgiving activities for seniors with Dementia

1. Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade

Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade
Image credit: Wikimedia

The Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade is an annual event on Thanksgiving day. The popular department store chain has been organizing this event since 1924. Although this event takes place in New York City, you can watch it live on TV. If you stay nearby, I recommend attending it with a family member. They have 2.5 miles of public viewing along the route where you can walk and take pictures.

2. Break the wishbone 

Break the wishbone
Image credit: Wikimedia

Breaking the wishbone is a traditional Thanksgiving activity. It is believed that the person who is left with the bigger portion of the wishbone has his or her wish granted. The wishbone is located between the turkey’s neck and breast. Before you cook the bird, make sure to remove the wishbone and keep it aside for later. 

3. Enjoy traditional Thanksgiving dinner

I am aware that there are certain foods a Dementia patient should avoid at all costs. For instance, they should never eat foods laced with MSG, they should avoid processed meats, and sugary sodas are a big no-no. But they can enjoy foods such as roasted organic Turkey, green pea casserole, and mashed potatoes. In addition to that, it is fine to have some eggnog, although I would go for a pumpkin spice latte instead of an alcoholic beverage. 

4. Watch Hollywood classics

RottenTomatoes has an awesome list of movies you can watch on Thanksgiving day. I like this list because it contains old Hollywood classics from the 80s and the 90s. I guess you can watch one of these movies with your family. You can watch it in the afternoon when everyone is relaxing. As you know the evening time is best spent conversing, dining, and enjoying face-to-face with your loved ones. 

5. Plan for Black Friday 

Plan for Black Friday

I know you are not much of a shopper at this age. But your adult children and grandchildren will surely be psyched to do the Black Friday shopping. You can help them create a shopping list. Maybe add some items that you yourself want. This is a great way for you to engage with younger members of the family. The young ones get happy when they see their grandpa or grandma take a keen interest in them, and their life. 

6. Reminisce in the past with old family photographs

old family photographs

Reminiscing on the past with old photo albums can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Everyone can gather around in the living room with old photo albums from the 70s and the 80s. You can tell the younger ones about the older relatives they never had a chance to meet in person. You can also print copies of the key memories and create a collage. 

7. Take a fun walk with your grandchildren

Take a fun walk with your grandchildren

Going out for a walk with grandchildren is one of the healthiest things you can do on turkey day. Not to forget, it can also be a lot of fun. If you live in an area surrounded by nature, you can take binoculars with you on the walk. To be honest, this activity is more fun for kids than seniors. You can watch them collect leaves, play nature games, and much more. 


Thanksgiving is a busy period for everyone. There is only so much you can do in a day. I am guessing the activities I discussed in the post will keep you entertained throughout the day. Let me know if you have more ideas, and I will add them to the list. Thank you for reading, and have a happy Thanksgiving.

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