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How Puzzles for Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients Aid Cognition

How Puzzles for Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients Aid Cognition

The Importance of Puzzles for Dementia & Alzheimer’s Patients

Did you know solving puzzles is good for your brain? Brain games in which one has to think hard to solve a problem have been shown to spark memory and lead to noticeable cognitive improvement. Not only is puzzling relaxing and low-risk for those who may be struggling, but also doctors now recommend puzzles for dementia patients to help them work out the brain as you would a muscle to build strength. Bits and Pieces has a variety of brain games for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients to help people find mental and emotional ease.

How Do Alzheimer’s and Dementia Jigsaw Puzzles Help Patients?

While puzzles cannot definitively prevent someone from getting dementia or Alzheimer’s, they can aid in mental function and decrease symptoms. The puzzling process requires one to connect dots, problem solve, and think a few steps ahead. It’s mentally stimulating enough to act as an exercise for the brain, which may help revitalize memories and restrict mental decline. But puzzles for seniors with dementia aren’t just valuable for cognitive capabilities; jigsaw puzzles for adults help patients in other areas as well, including:

  • Providing a sense of comfort and control
  • Helping easily distracted seniors stay engaged with an activity
  • Fostering social relationships when worked on with others
  • Releasing dopamine when a correct piece is found
  • Giving a sense of accomplishment
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Acting as a meditative activity that can reduce inflammation 

What Are the Best Puzzles for Alzheimer’s or Dementia Patients?

When picking puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients, opt for ones that are easier than you’d choose for the average adult. Don’t choose something complex. The goal is for the activity to be engaging but not overwhelming. Puzzles with fewer but larger pieces can be a good starting place.

Puzzles With Larger Pieces

Puzzles with larger pieces are much easier for patients to see and interact with. Larger pieces also usually mean fewer pieces, which can be easier on those with mental difficulties. When you first introduce puzzles for dementia to the patient, opt for a 100-piece or a 200-piece puzzle. If these prove too easy, you can always go up. It can also be comforting and more stimulating to choose a theme you know the person enjoys, like a holiday-themed puzzle. Choose imagery that may help remind a person what they enjoy, what’s familiar, and what they have fond memories of.

Create the Best Playing Space

Make puzzling a more positive experience by creating an optimal space to work in. If you want someone to stick with a project, remove distractions and obstacles. Make sure the area is well lit and easy to move in. If at home, find a space that’s quiet and calm. Use a white tablecloth or poster board to make pieces stand out better. It’s also helpful to use puzzle organizers and sorters so users don’t lose pieces and can group them, which is beneficial for the brain to sort out. You can make the activity portable as well by using a puzzle table or porta-puzzle caddy that allows their project to be moved to different locations, be it around the house or away from the home. Bits and Pieces has many puzzle accessories that can make puzzling easier and more enjoyable.

Interested in finding puzzles for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients? Shop our wide selection of jigsaw puzzles to find the perfect gift today!

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