As people in the modern world are living longer, many of us find ourselves with the responsibility of having to look after an elderly relative either at home, in a day care centre or old people’s home. Not only is there the challenge of caring for them on a day-to-day basis but also the problem of finding a way for them to occupy their time constructively. The key is to find an activity that simulates their minds while still being entertaining. One option that is often overlooked is the traditional jigsaw puzzle. Although they should be specially adapted for use by the elderly, jigsaw puzzles have a double benefit: they are both therapeutic and fun to do. We would like to take a few minutes to explain how beneficial doing a jigsaw puzzle is for the elderly.
Social Interaction and Communication
A jigsaw puzzle is something that is best done in company. Doing a puzzle together with your elderly loved ones is as pleasurable for you as it is for them. It helps them keep up their social and communicative skills as they look for pieces and chat with you about what’s in the picture, and whatever else comes up in conversation!
Exercising the Little Grey Cells
Completing a jigsaw puzzle involves a process of matching shapes and colours and physically fitting the pieces, all of which are helpful in the treatment of conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease, Senile Dementia or Stroke Rehabilitation, for example, by conserving the neural connections in the brain and enhancing motor skills. Needless to say our preferred use is just for fun!
If the picture in the puzzle is something that jogs the memory of the person doing it, then it can be used to start a conversation about what it reminds them of.
Satisfaction and Self-worth
When a puzzle is completed you experience a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment, which can be tremendously positive for an elderly person. This is also accompanied by a feeling of self-worth, especially if the puzzle was done without somebody else’s help.
What to look for in a jigsaw puzzle for the elderly
Familiar Picture – It is best to look for a puzzle with a well-known picture that your elderly relative or friend can immediately identify. Recognizing the picture will make doing it and talking about it easier. It is important the picture makes the elderly person remember something from their past or their daily life to improve memory recall and allow for further discussion on the topic.
Big Pieces – The pieces should be big enough for the elderly person to pick up with ease and see clearly what is on the puzzle piece. A puzzle with small fiddly pieces is not appropriate for the elderly as they cannot pick them up nor see what is on the piece.
Loose-Fitting Pieces – Bear in mind that a puzzle with pieces that fit together tightly makes placing them very difficult; you should look for a puzzle whose pieces fit together loosely. Even a “puzzler” who suffers from a motor condition that causes their hands to shake will find themselves capable of putting the pieces into place.
Wooden Pieces – Thick wooden pieces are much easier to pick up than plastic ones. They are heavier than plastic pieces and they are sturdy enough to last so the puzzle can be done over and over again.
Extra Poster Included – Look for a puzzle that contains an extra print of the poster of the puzzle image. It can be a great help when doing a more challenging puzzle and you can even put it up on the wall for decoration!
The range of Big Piece Puzzles for the elderly at Willis Toys Ltd offers you the all the benefits mentioned above. It is very important for us to make a good quality puzzle that gives you and, more importantly, your family’s senior members what they need from a therapeutic and fun product. We hope this range of puzzles lets you enjoy some quality moments with them. Happy puzzling.