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How Are Puzzles Beneficial for Seniors with Dementia?

Puzzles are one of many activities recommended for older adults to exercise the brain and maintain cognitive health. However, few realize the pastime of doing puzzles is also a useful tool for seniors living with dementia. Puzzles provide several benefits for cognitively impaired older adults.

Boost Cognitive Health

Cochrane, a British charity organization that reviews medical research, evaluated a number of trials in which researchers studied more than 700 older men and women with varying degrees of dementia. Some of the studies performed on people with dementia revealed that puzzles were effective in boosting memory. Some of the older adults who worked on puzzles for 45 minutes twice a week exhibited better scores on memory evaluations compared to those who didn’t put puzzles together.

Seniors with dementia can optimize their quality of life with the help of a highly trained, experienced professional caregiver. If your senior loved one needs professional dementia care, Anchorage caregivers are available around the clock to provide the high-quality care he or she needs. Using the revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, dementia caregivers can help your loved one stay mentally engaged and delay the progression of the disease.

Provide Effective Cognitive Stimulation

Putting together jigsaw puzzles stimulates multiple areas on the left and right sides of the brain. Neurons are responsible for visual input and interpretation along with the fine motor movements in the hands. While working puzzles, seniors must problem solve by looking at the pieces and determining where they fit based on shape, size, and color. When older adults with dementia work puzzles, their judgment and processing times also increase.

Stimulate Short-Term and Long-Term Memory

Visual perception and memory, both of which are commonly damaged in seniors with dementia, work together to accomplish many tasks, including putting puzzles together. When looking at puzzle pieces, seniors must stimulate their long-term memory to remember how to recognize and match colors, patterns, and shapes. Short-term memory is also necessary when finding a location to accommodate a piece that didn’t have a place earlier. As the brain areas work in combination to solve the puzzle, neurons are busy making new connections, which bypass damaged communication routes.

Provide Opportunities for Socialization

When seniors with dementia work on puzzles with family members, the activity provides a chance to engage in social interaction. The family members not only assist their older parent but also provide a boost in self-esteem each time he or she correctly places a piece. The satisfaction from making a correct move causes the release of dopamine, which further enhances concentration, memory, and motor skills. The chance to engage in casual conversation is also cognitively stimulating.

Seniors’ social activity can be boosted by the companionship of compassionate professional caregivers. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Anchorage home care service agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

Offer Emotional Therapy

By stimulating both sides of the brain, seniors can remain focused on completing the puzzles, which naturally has calming and relaxing effects. When seniors with dementia become agitated and stressed, puzzles are a wonderful way to divert their attention and release tension. The calming effect also benefits the cardiovascular system. Breathing and heart rates slow down, and blood pressure decreases.

A professional caregiver with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for seniors with dementia. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Anchorage families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (907) 770-0907.