The Puzzling Advantage The Benefits of Puzzles for the Elderly

As you age, your brain begins to slow down making it even more important to stimulate it to increase cognition, short-term memory, and problem-solving skills. Elderly patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease benefit immensely from the challenges of a 300 piece puzzle or a moderately difficult jigsaw puzzle. A 1000 pc puzzle is a fantastic way to engage and stimulate the brain of elderly patients leading to a longer life expectancy, better quality of life, and reduced chance of developing certain types of mental illness. Depending on the level of memory loss, elderly patients can be stimulated by more difficult puzzles or a variety of easy puzzles that, once completed, encourages a sense of satisfaction of a problem-solving task.

Colorful 1000 pc puzzles are versatile, challenging, and offer great benefits to patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s:

  1. 1. Dynamic Brain Workout – When putting together a 500 piece puzzle, you use both sides of the brain simultaneously. The left brain is analytical, follows a sequence, and sees all separate pieces of the puzzle while attempting to sort them logically. At the same, the right brain, the creative side, sees the “big picture” and works intuitively. When the two sides work together, patients create connections between the left and right brain. With full brain involvement when completing a 1000 pc puzzle, patients show greater problem-solving skills, faster processing time, and better judgment. When using the full brain, patients also improve their spatial, visual, and cognitive abilities.
  2. 2. Beneficial Meditation – While a patient works towards completion of moderately difficult puzzles, they are moving from a beta to an alpha state. In an alpha state, patients tap into their subconscious creating a state of creative, focused meditation where connections can be made on much deeper levels. During this meditative state, there is a shift in focus from confusion and overwhelm to proactively working on the solution. Putting together a puzzle and focusing on the same image for longer periods of time mimics a meditative state and brings on a sense of calm and peace in their mind.
  3. 3. Slowing the Decline of Cognitive Functioning – When elderly patients worked on easy puzzles for at least 45 minutes twice a week, there was a noticeable improvement on memory tests equaling a six to nine-month delay in symptom progression. Piecing puzzles together makes patients alert, increases concentration, and expands creativity.
  4. 4. Improved Interaction and Connections with Others – As symptoms of memory loss progress with patients, their interactions with family and friends decreases. Spending time together with a moderately difficult puzzle creates special opportunities for conversation, bonding, teamwork, and accomplishment as a puzzle is completed. There is a sense of easiness and comfort as you complete a puzzle, laughing and sharing memories as each piece is placed. Also, as the jigsaw puzzle takes shape, the different parts of one’s life starts coming together forming a sensible picture.
  5. 6. Increased Physical Health – The calming and peaceful effects of puzzles affects our physical health by lowering our breathing rate, slowing the heart rate, and reducing blood pressure. After successful completion of a 1000 pc puzzle or placing a single piece encourages the production of Dopamine, which promotes increased learning, memory, motor skills, concentration, confidence, and recollection.

The gift of a 300 piece puzzle, 500 piece puzzle, or 1000 pc puzzle has overwhelmingly positive benefits for elderly patients, keeping their brain active and stimulated. Patients are engaged in meaningful pastimes with friends and family that promotes brain function, clarity of mind, and thought while also creating a continuing bond with family to keep them from isolation and restlessness. What a wonderful way to spend time with a loved one.

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