Stories and Resources: Puzzle Games, Memory Games, Memory Activites, Fun Brain Games, Match Games, Memory Improvement Exercise, Games for Elderly, 6 Piece Puzzle, 12 Piece Puzzle, Picture Puzzles & Chunky Puzzles are beneficial Memory Games, Brain Exercise, Memory Exercise, Memory Activities for Elderly, Alzheimers, Dementia and Autism.

Today is a new day... another chance to connect with
someone who has Alzheimer's, Dementia or Autism.

Stories from working with patients with Memory Jogging Puzzles & Memory Card Games

Fringe of Frustration
Place:Care Center
with wide range of residents.

I was introduced to John (mid 80's) in Assisted Living, his hobby… working on large puzzles.

He wanted to do all my puzzles and yes, he remembered Norman Rockwell. He enjoyed
reminiscing while putting the wooden puzzles together.

As I brought out the logic puzzles, his eyes widened, “these are harder”.

He asked to study the pieces together for a time, before breaking the puzzle apart.

Starting with the 6 piece, he touched and studied the acrylic pieces carefully, then took the puzzle apart, putting it together fairly quickly.
(I noticed he was timing himself)

His comment, "you have to think a little more with these, I match the colors on my big puzzles".

Focusing on the 12 piece logic puzzle (same routine), studied the whole puzzle, then took it apart, and started to put it back together.

He stumbled a few times, took a moment, was at it again.

John did not want any assistance, determined to succeed, and he did.

Another gentleman observing and of course, he wanted to do the 12 piece logic puzzle also.

He quickly broke (12 piece) apart and anxiously started to put the puzzle back together.

He picked up one piece, tried to fit it together with another, no, that didn’t work, picked up another, no, that didn’t work either.

Observing closely, I noticed frustration and bewilderment appearing on his face.

Asking if I could help, “no, I can do it”.

Suddenly, I noticed his hands and fingers making snappy motions, as if he was touching something hot.

To this point, 3 - 5 minutes, there was not any success of connecting pieces.

Gently putting my hands over the puzzle pieces, I gathered them together saying, "I don't like this puzzle, let's try another”.

The 6 piece logic puzzle would have been easier for him, and he could have possibly done it.

Rather than chance it, I decided to change the game to a 6 piece memory puzzle.

Together we built the puzzle discussing the picture. He relaxed again, needed a bit of help but he did it.

It is important to, Defuse Frustration

Everyone is different, some things appear simple and easy to one, but are someone else's nightmare.

If frustration appears, change the game.


PS. I should have insisted starting with the 6 piece, moving up to the 12 piece. He was insistent, I didn’t, and I regret it.

Watch carefully for expressions and actions, the object is to have fun, not frustrate; but we need to challenge also, on the fringe.

(Logic puzzles are acrylic, one color. One has to match the angles and curves. More difficult than puzzle with image).


©2011 Karen Miller - Memory Jogging Puzzles, All rights reserved


Just a thought
Sometimes we assume those with these conditions act differently or don’t speak the way they used to and forget, they have no feelings.

Working with residents, I have seen feelings, emotions, and laughter and when it happens, it makes me feel great.

Many patients become introverted and don’t want to try an activity because they fear failure. I have noticed they are cautious when making decisions but many times they are on the right track and need just a little assurance and patience.

A decision that we automatically make is sometimes quite difficult for the elderly or someone with alzheimers disease, only because they don’t want to make the wrong decision.

I discovered care centers have the same needs for activities but each center had it’s own level of capabilities.

My favorite quote
“Your puzzles do indeed show some promise, due to the fact that they engage persons with their emotional and recognition memory, but then rely upon "here and now" problem-solving skills.” Mitchell Slutzky, Ph.D., Clinical Geropsychologist, NY

Interestingly some people just want to hold the puzzles, study the images and touch them gently. It’s as if they are seeing old friends and when there is a group they laugh, talk and help each other, it is amazing to watch and listen.

I discovered
Norman Rockwell had Alzheimer’s when was elderly. I find this very unique that his art is playing a part in helping those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. ###


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Definitions
Alzheimers vs Dementia
Source: Dementia’s disease facts and figures. alzheimers Association. 2007

Alzheimers disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the brain that results in dementia.

The terms alzheimers and dementia are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference between them.

Alzheimers is a broader term than Dementia and refers to any brain syndrome resulting in problems with memory, orientation, judgment, executive functioning, and communication.

Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia, but dementia can also be caused by strokes, Parkinson's disease, head injury, or a host of other conditions -- very few of which are reversible.

Memory is often divided into two groups:

Short-term memory
refers to immediate past experiences
and information
.

Long-term memory deals with things from long ago.

Logical Thinking allows one to keep track of the immediate future. Short term memory and logical thinking skills are closely connected.

Orientation is the person's situational awareness. example: name, who are you, where are you, day, date, season and year.

Executive functioning
is the ability to carry out familiar tasks, such as getting dressed or balancing a checkbook.

Includes the ability to plan projects, formulate goals and objectives, prioritize, apply self-discipline, and remember steps involved in complex tasks. ###


Copyright ©2011 Memory Jogging Puzzles, All rights reserved
©SEPS Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved

 

 

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On the wings of Memories
by Karen Miller
creator/owner of Memory Jogging Puzzles
and Memory Games

Fall of 2007
There was a sequence of television shows and commercials about Alzheimer's Disease, and then I saw Muhammad Ali watch his daughter Laila, dance on “Dancing with the Stars”. His presence had a huge impact on me and it still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. (He reminded me of my mother)

Isn’t it strange how someone or a television show will take you right back to that moment of time and you feel the hurt and see the sorrow in the eyes.

He was unable to show any emotions but his daughter knew he cared. I thought there has to be a way to reach those suffering from memory loss conditions.

My mother passed away several years ago, before the terms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia were common, suddenly all of her symptoms, struggles and actions were fresh in my mind.

Within a few days I started researching “Activity Needs” for Alzheimer’s by calling Memory Treatment Centers and talking with Activity Directors.

My background is in graphic, web design and marketing, because of this, I felt I could design some activities; without this background, I could not afford to hire it done.

Reflections of the past
Mother had a massive stroke at age 50 following surgery, small strokes and memory loss followed. Her physical capabilities easily done at one time were taken away from her in a second.

Her thought patterns that had flowed easily before had been intercepted; now simple words could not be uttered and she was paralyzed on the right side.

This was a jolt for my father, five children and especially my lovely mother but unfortunately, we could not hear her words but we could see the fear in her eyes.

I truly believe when someone is stricken with a stroke, Alzheimer’s or dementia they are prisoners within themselves. I feel that is why they have the outbursts of anger and frustration.

I am not a doctor only a close observer. I feel we can not communicate with our loved ones the way we used to and must learn different ways. This is sad not only for the patient, but their loved ones standing by their side and the caregivers who watch them closely. I’m not sure who suffers most, the patient or the observer.

Caregiver
My father cared for mother many years before she went into a care center. It was very difficult for him, but I never heard him complain and she was difficult at times. He was protective of her behavior.

During this time I watched my mother become very depressed and angry towards my father. She began to resent the fact that he had to do many things for her.

He was her hands, her feet and her voice at times and she did not like it, but she never stopped trying, she was a survivor. More than anything she wanted to be the way she used to be. I’m sure they both had a straight beam to heaven when they died.

Her Frustrations
It was difficult for her to convey what wanted and became frustrated when we could not understand. Trying to help we would guess what she was trying to say and this upset her even more.

I know she was frustrated and angry because of her condition and then it became a way of life for everyone.

Mother was never going to be the way
she used to be.

Her memory got progressively worse, at times she would remember things in the far past but not remember turning the stove on. She needed to be watched very carefully for her own safety and those around her.

She had all the mood swings and sometimes they would come very quickly. It was difficult to keep her occupied besides just sitting in front of the TV watching soaps or shadows. There were no age appropriate activities for her to do and she felt insulted when given a child’s painting book or puzzle.

I also know, if I would have been in her shoes, I would have felt the same way and probably acted the same way or may be worse.

Today I understand, when we are young, we are trying to cope or reacting to the situation.

What is difficult for me to understand is WHY years later these patient needs have never been met.

Gathering information
After contacting Activity Directors throughout the state of Illinois, I discovered they all had the same needs. I contacted Activity Directors in other states and I heard the same issues.

I was shocked and excited at the same time, because I realized I had found “a need”.

Now it was up to me to fill it. Age appropriate, stimulate conversations and the patients enjoyed puzzles but there were not any they could easily do.

They gave me the blueprint all I had to do was
follow it.

Memories
When I was a child, mother always had a card table up with a puzzle of many small pieces on it. Both of my parents worked on it, but I think mom did it most often and that was one activity she missed doing.

After her stroke the pieces were too small and too many for her to complete. She would become frustrated and never completed one again. If there was a puzzle that had few pieces it was a child’s puzzle and she didn’t like those, she was not a child.

Mother's frustrations and difficulties working with various activities has been my model creating memory jogging puzzles and memory cards.

She would have handled the puzzle pieces easily and would have been successful with both the puzzles and card games.
###

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Memory-Improvement -Tips
Brain Games and Training Tips
###

"I, like most human beings am very good at hiding my thoughts"
Quote from book -
alzheimers From The Inside Out by Richard Taylor, PHD
###

Brain Teasers
Collection of brain teasers, riddles, puzzles, logic problems with answers.
Test your skills at cracking mind puzzles.
http://.iqtestexperts.com/brainteasers/
###

CAhome4seniors (California)
http://www.californiahomeforseniors.com
###


5 Minutes
continued from Memory Games page

When she came to “In the Garden” she started to reminisce, remembering when she was a young girl.

Every Sunday her mother would gather her and her siblings, dress them all up in pretty dresses and go to church.

There they would meet their cousins and everyone sang together. (This event made a memory implant on Mary and she shared her stories).

It was wonderful listening to her and watching her facial expressions, she was pulled right back there with her mom getting her ready.

I was called away from her for a few moments.

When I returned, the songbook was on the table and she was again doing crossword puzzles.

I smiled and sat down, she looked up… smiled, then paused, looking at me she asked, “Do I know you?”

My heart sank, “not really, I’m a new friend” and we continued to talk. But the rhythm was gone, the feeling in the air not the same.

It didn’t bother her but it had an impact on me.

I guess I was the one who was missing the rhythm and feeling in the air.

It truly is more difficult to be an observer than the person having this disease.

Every time I visit the center I look for her, she is 94. I love her smile and energy, even though she never remembers me, we talk and laugh like old friends. (I think she recognizes my voice).

Lesson learned… if you connect with someone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia, stay in their moment as long as you can. A five-minute distraction is all it takes for many to lose focus. (Strange, many of us are the same way, but if we desire we can get back, they cannot).

If you are a loved one, keep a journal of those long forgotten moments you are hearing about. You are making memories and one day, you will reflect back and smile. ©2011 karen miller


They labeled her: Doesn't speak!
I began working with my polish lady over a year ago with my puzzles. The last several months she joined my art class of drawing and painting.

I was told she was Polish and never spoke.

I make sure she sits beside me enabling me to help her understand what we are doing by showing her if needed.

She struggled with my 6 piece puzzle and it is baby steps in this class. If she stays close to inside the line, she gets encouragement. I show her how and point it out.

Sometimes she has a pencil in both hands scribbling away. I gently take one away, she favors the right hand so we keep that one.

She is always cooperative but shows no expression.

A couple of months ago, at the end of class she kept pushing her paper my way and I kept pushing it back telling her to take it with her. She pushed it back and said "you keep, for helping me".

I was shocked, thanked her and there were no more words. A couple more sessions, no words were spoken. (I am with the group about an hour.)

There is always lots of chatter and laughter around the table, the ladies are reminiscing when they were young and what they did. Almost like a bridge game, but the bridge is to each other.

At the end of our last group meeting, someone asked when I was returning and I told them. As I was gathering my items, my favorite Polish lady, repeated my sentence about when I was returning. I couldn't believe it, I smiled and said yes, I will be here next month and you are talking to me, thank you.

It was GREAT ...made my day and I am anxious for the next time we meet.

But then I began wondering... has anyone tried to connect with her? Does someone who speaks polish come in and visit with her?

Most of the assistants speak spanish and have their schedules.

She has been labeled "doesn't speak" because she is polish, but she is definitely listening and capable of speaking if she wants to.

How lonely it must be for her. If anyone speaks another language and you have time volunteer at a care center.

There may be someone there just waiting to say "hi" and see your smile. ###

©2011 karen miller

Go Shopping

karenm@memoryjoggingpuzzles.com

All Memory Jogging Puzzles and Memory Cards have themes by Norman Rockwell – Sarah S. Weber - The Saturday Evening Post ©SEPS


 



 

 

Radio Interview!

Listen to Karen Miller
on the Coping with Caregiving radio program, scroll to segment 3. The host, Jacqueline Marcell, is the author of Elder Rage.


Lesson Learned testing the Puzzles (continued from
MemoryGames page)

We continued our way and prepared to work with the groups.

I was shocked to learn my first person was Bob. (gentleman in the wheel chair).

As I sat down at his table, I aligned two puzzles within his reach.

I didn't talk about the puzzles right away, (the hallway greeting was fresh in my mind.)

I introduced myself and he told me his name.

I noticed one puzzle had captured his attention as I pointed out details and we started talk, focusing on the one, while moving the other away. (removing distraction)

Connecting with him, asked him to point to different items in the picture and he did, cautiously, not wanting to make a mistake.

(Men seem more cautious)

Breaking apart the 6 piece puzzle I asked if he would help me put it back together.

He did, needed some guidance and assurance, but he didn't mind as I helped guide some pieces in place

There was a smile and chuckle when the puzzle was completed. And, he wanted to do another

We did several puzzles (6 and 12 piece).

During this time, Bob shared stories of him and his sister putting large 500 piece puzzles together when they were young.

He recalled he was an engineer at one time.

I was amazed at the transformation, from "no" at the door, to let's do more.

It was great, one of many positive experiences. ###

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Shh ...listen, do you hear me?
I’m here, inside me there is a voice, please lean in and hear me out.

I am frustrated, nothing seems the same, I can’t even remember your name.

I walk slowly may need a little help, be patient with me or I might shout.

I’m still in here. I still have feelings, please do not lock me out.

Take time to show me once again how to do the tasks and games I once did. ~karen

©2011 Karen Miller - Memory Jogging Puzzles, All rights reserved


What things cost in the 1940's:
• Car: $800
• Gasoline: 18 cents per gallon
• House: $6,550
• Bread: 8 cents a loaf
• Milk: 34 cents - gallon
• Postage Stamp: 3 cents
• Average Annual Salary: $1,900
• Minimum Wage: 30 cents per hour

ARTICLES

memory activities puzzles & cards featured on Gilbert Guide
Activity Ideas for alzheimers and dementia patients on GilbertGuide.com


McKnights Magazine Long Term Assisted Living article Memory Jogging Puzzles Karen Miller


saturday evening post, norman rockwell puzzles, alzheimers puzzles, memory puzzles, match games, brain games, memory exercise, brain exercise


Copyright ©2011 Memory Jogging Puzzles, All rights reserved
©SEPS Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 


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