Alzheimer's Disease
Jigsaw Puzzles

How do you use puzzles with an Alzheimer's patient?



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I just developed wooden jigsaw puzzles for Alzheimer's and Dementia Diseases, a 6 piece for middle stages and 12 piece for early stages. The themes are Norman Rockwell - Saturday Evening Post Covers. The size of the puzzles are 6x8 inches, the theme "Little Spooners". The residents love them and engage in conversation.

I worked worked with 3 residents individually last week in middle stages, 2 men and a lady. The lady was the oldest around 90. It was a marvelous experience, they all handled the pieces very easily, we did both puzzles. The 6 piece was worked on mostly by themselves.

One gentleman could get each side completed by himself, but had difficulty bringing them together. He knew they went together, but was forcing the pieces and I had to help him. We talked he told me he used to do puzzles when he was younger. We also worked with cards of same images to match up, and he also did these by himself. He was cautious at making his decision, but he did it, by himself. I worked with him 1/2 hour and then he got tired, I didn't realize that much time had passed.

The other gentleman and lady worked together, he relied on her for guidance. She was the quickest of all three, very detail oriented. She could do the 12 piece pretty easily also. When we did the cards and she was much faster than the men who were younger. We had great interaction and conversation. He asked me to do the cards at the end. I worked with them about 45 min. and they weren't tired. We were having fun.

I will be tracking their progression each time I visit, but I was very impressed with the reaction and interaction that took place.

Someone just mentioned to me that many times families become frustrated because their loved ones don't remember them and they don't know what to say or do while visiting, so they stay away. These puzzles are a wonderful tool for eye/hand coordination, but stimulating conversation and reminiscing. And, I am sure I will find more benefits as we go along.