Puzzles are good for Dementia Sufferers

Updated: Dec 13, 2019

Tomorrow is National Puzzle Day. While it seems like there is a day for every little silly habit or whim, today’s puzzle day recognition is so delightful. A very good tool to use with dementia sufferers is puzzle play. After you complete a puzzle it is fun to mount it and display it so you can remember all of your hard wok. There are so many varieties, colors and designs.

Here are some tips provided by https://memoryjoggingpuzzles.com/do-puzzles-help-those-with-alzheimers-disease-dementia/

  • If puzzle pieces are thin, small and made of cardboard or chipboard they are very difficult of elderly with shaky hands, arthritis and stroke patients with limited mobility to pick up and put into place.

  • When selecting a jigsaw puzzle for dementia patient keep in mind, their attention span has been affected. Puzzles with too many pieces intimidate dementia and stroke patients. Completing the puzzle, no matter the size builds self confidence. One size puzzle doesn’t meet everyones needs.

  • One of the biggest mistakes people make is choosing the jigsaw puzzle for their loved one.

  • One of the most difficult things is accepting how mom / dad’s cognitive skills have deteriorated, so consequently, they purchase a puzzle too large, with too many small pieces.

  • If your loved one has dementia or is in stroke therapy, choose a puzzle with fewer pieces, one they can complete, and a puzzle with pieces they can handle.

  • It is better for the patient to complete a smaller puzzle with fewer pieces, than have a larger puzzle that frustrates him and never is completed.

  • Do not purchase a child’s puzzle, you will see frustration.

  • Your loved one may become frustrated and need your help. Yes, you should help individual occasionally, but if you are doing the entire puzzle, you are getting the brain exercise not your loved one. If this is the case, you need a puzzle with fewer pieces, even then you may need to assist. A note: Some websites offer only 12 piece puzzles, this size puzzle should not be used for everyone with dementia. For example, sometime a 12 piece puzzle is too difficult for patients in middle – late stages of dementia. I’ve seen patients struggle with a 6-piece puzzle. For success learn the skills individual has and build from there.

  • Keep in mind for many elderly it has been along time since they have put a puzzle together. I have witnessed many patients, sit in front of a 6 piece puzzle and stare. They had forgotten what to do. Gently and slowly pull the pieces apart, laying them close by, then put the puzzle back together. Seeing this awakens the memory that has been buried for so long. Old habits can be restored in dementia & stroke patients.

  • If a puzzle is large with many pieces, most likely some of they pieces will be out of reach. Make sure individual is sitting close to the table and capable of reaching the pieces when puzzle is apart.

  • If individual has poor vision, try to find a puzzle with contrast and bright colors.

All rights and information provided by ©2013 Karen Miller



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