As we get older it is important to include activities into our routine that not only entertain and help pass the time, but provide positive health benefits. An activity that has proven to be very fruitful in that respect is puzzling, whether it be crosswords, jigsaw, word searches…etc.
Research has shown that those who frequently do crossword puzzles have a much slower decline in their memory. Staying active mentally, and continuously challenging oneself, is vital for reducing one’s risk for dementia.
However, even those who have developed dementia or Alzheimer’s still benefit immensely from puzzles. The cognitive stimulation that comes with, for example, building a jigsaw puzzle, helps those suffering from brain deterioration by keeping them active and engaged. Research has shown that puzzles are an exercise in memory, and help improve short-term memory.
It is important to keep in mind that, while it is key to provide that cognitive stimulation, you want to ensure that they are doing puzzles within their capabilities. Anything too difficult can cause distress, so opting for a puzzle with fewer pieces and larger ones that are easier to handle is to be kept in consideration. You want to provide a challenge, but one that is manageable and can be completed.
The completion of a jigsaw puzzle gives a sense of accomplishment and success. But that feeling isn’t reserved solely for the end. One of the great benefits to jigsaw puzzles is the constant release of dopamine throughout the activity. Every time you find a piece that fits, there is a boost and feeling of success, creating a really positive and engaging activity. And while it is engaging and provides that cognitive stimulation, it is also a very calming and soothing pastime.
Another benefit to puzzles is they are a great social activity, and a way to help foster a connection between you and your loved one, or a caregiver with who they are caring for. Furthermore, choosing a puzzle that relates to the senior can strengthen your bond while evoking memories. There are places you can order custom puzzles, to really personalize the experience and help potentially bring out those positive memories, but even puzzles with a familiar and/or nostalgic design can offer that same benefit as well.
As a whole, puzzling offers plenty of health benefits. So, if you’re looking for a pleasant and therapeutic activity that provides cognitive stimulation (including the improvement of brain functions) for your senior loved ones, try out a puzzle!
And if your loved one is in need of care please feel free to reach out. Click on the “Contact Us” tab for our contact form, phone number, or Email address.