Brain training with jigsaw puzzles has been successful for dementia and stroke recovery patients.
The process of brain training and cognitive stimulation begins the moment your loved one opens their eyes.
• Reaching and picking up the puzzle or a puzzle piece.
• Individual will think about the shape of the puzzle piece, it’s color and size.
• They will observe and think about the correct spot each puzzle piece belongs.
• They must analyze the knobs on puzzle pieces and turn them to put the piece in correctly.
• If it doesn’t fit, they must start this thinking process over.
This process goes smoothly for some and takes a bit longer for others.
What is involved for you?
You must have knowledge of individuals limitations, problem solving skills and know the stage or level your loved one is in. That’s just the beginning!
The difficult area or “unseen” areas are just as important in brain training for your mother or father with dementia to be successful in rebuilding their problem solving skills.
I am referring to your loved one’s feelings and emotions.
Unfortunately, dementia patients feelings and emotions have been buried for a long time. This why we see sad eyes and emotionless faces, but their feelings are there, just waiting to be awakened.
Feelings are sparked by emotions
Example of feelings:
Emotions are Intense but Temporary
Example of emotions:
It is important to notice their emotions and respond quickly, this will defuse frustration and help rebuild their self-esteem and confidence.
Memory jogging puzzles are widely accepted as brain exercises, used routinely can help slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain degradation problems. Geron Guide Beacon to Better Senior Health
Jigsaw Puzzles being used for Brain Training should have these 5 critical features for success with dementia and stroke patients.
These features are needed to help meet your loved one’s physical and mental needs.
When both physical and mental needs are met in any activity, puzzle or game there is a domino effect.
If your jigsaw puzzle does not have these features they will not meet these needs. For less frustration and more enjoyment for everyone choose a different puzzle.
Mom or dad will be more willing to participate, stimulating their problem solving skills, cognitive skills, memories and emotions. And, you will make a connection.
1. Adult age appropriate picture or theme of puzzle – being adult age-appropriate will help keep your loved one’s dignity.
2. Picture on puzzle must capture their attention immediately and have the ability to keep their interest.
Storytelling themes capture attention better than an object.
To stimulate cognitive or problem solving skills, individual must be motivated to participate.
If you want participation, you must have their attention.
To motivate participation the jigsaw puzzle theme or picture is critical.
Keep in mind the dementia patient’s attention span is much shorter and they may lose interest. If the picture is interesting you can point out details and bring their focus back to the activity.
It may have been a long time since your mother or father have put a puzzle together, yes, you should help them occasionally, but if you are doing the entire puzzle, you are getting the brain exercise and cognitive stimulation, not your loved one.
Keep in Mind One SIZE PUZZLE does NOT meet everyone’s needs.
3. Size of puzzle together – the size of the puzzle is the first thing the individual will see. At that moment they will decide if they want to participate; or if they feel intimidated and don’t want to try.
Motivation is stimulated with interest and the feeling one can do the task.
You and I both know if a game is too difficult, it isn’t any fun and we do not want to participate.
It is important to choose the size of puzzle you feel your mother or father can complete or complete with your assistance during activity time or your visit.
This is often done emotionally rather than by the facts. Many are thinking how their parents used to be and often select a puzzle too difficult.
Memory Jogging Puzzles are 6 x 8″ have fewer large thick pieces to meet the physical and mental needs of different levels of dementia and stroke patients with limited mobility. Lap size puzzles to keep puzzle and puzzle pieces visible and within reach.
4. Number of pieces – is very important, keep in mind the level of individual working the puzzle and their personality.
It is better to have a puzzle with fewer pieces, one your mother or father can complete, than a more complicated puzzle that causes frustration.
5. Size and thickness of pieces – elderly patients, especially those with limited mobility and shaky hands have difficulty picking up small thin pieces. Thicker pieces have more substance to hang on to; men will larger hands prefer a puzzle with thick pieces.
If the puzzle you are working on is frustrating individual, you need a puzzle with fewer pieces, even then you may bed to assist. Be patient, most recall what they are supposed to do, with repetition putting the puzzle together will become smoother.
After the individual has completed the puzzle a few times, you can add a puzzle with more pieces.
These jigsaw puzzles with thick large pieces are easy to handle, easier to pick up puzzle pieces and put in place. 3 different size puzzles, meaning number of pieces.
These wooden puzzles do not intimidate and cause frustration; they build self esteem, self confidence and stimulate memories.
• 6 piece puzzles – middle to late stage of Alzheimer, dementia and stroke therapy.
• 12 piece puzzles – early to middle stage of Alzheimer, dementia and stroke therapy.
• 20 piece puzzles – elderly to early onset Dementia.
The Saturday Evening Post
Memory Jogging Puzzles are replicas of The Saturday Evening Post Magazine featuring Norman Rockwell, Sarah Stilwell Weber and other fine artists.
I’ve observed many elderly patients work with these beautiful images and watching their faces light up with joy; it is like they are seeing an old friend.
“Heroes of yesterday, stimulating the minds, memories and hearts of the today”.
Artists: Norman Rockwell & Sarah Stilwell Weber
The Saturday Evening Post artists featuring Norman Rockwell & Sarah Stilwell Weber and others are the catalyst triggering interest and participation.
Testimonial. . .
~I’m also pleased with the quality of the cards and the puzzles. I’ve noticed in recent times that, because my mother has arthritis, it’s harder for her to grip things. So, the fact that the cards are on very thick stock and puzzle pieces are thicker wooden pieces will make it much easier for her. Dawn W – Jamaica ###
Memory Jogging Puzzles will give you a positive, fun way to interact and connect with your loved one, in their world. To me this is success.
We can’t cure Alzheimer’s Disease, but I can help you give your loved one “a fun moment in time”.
Articles you may be interested in:
Memory Jogging Puzzles developed the first jigsaw puzzle with large pieces dedicated to elderly, Alzheimer, seniors with dementia and stroke patients in 2007.
These wood puzzles also referred to as Norman Rockwell Puzzles, The Saturday Evening Post Puzzles, Memory Puzzle, Brain Exercise and Brain Training & Cognitive Training.
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