Doctors, physical therapists, and cognitive therapists will often recommend easy jigsaw puzzles for seniors according to South Mountain Memory Care. Puzzles are a way to keep older individuals’ minds sharp and help them with hand/eye coordination. These puzzles come in a wide range of styles and degrees of difficulty. Finding the right fit is essential. If it is too difficult it will be frustrating; if it is too simplistic, it won’t be challenging enough to serve its purpose.
Why Jigsaw Puzzles?
Jigsaw puzzles help stimulate various areas of the brain, including those associated with memory and cognition, helping individuals with short-term memory problems and mild dementia. Correctly matching the pieces and remembering where they last saw a specific puzzle piece will help improve memory skills. They are also therapeutic for people who have problems with eye-hand coordination or fine motor skills. Assembling puzzles will allow them to practice using the smaller muscles in their hands and improve their coordination. Obviously, puzzles are a good exercise for both body and mind. As seniors age, progressively easier puzzles are needed that continue to provide a challenge without becoming so frustrating that they overwhelm or become impossible to complete.
What is the Appropriate Level of Difficulty?
When searching for easy puzzles for seniors, you want to strike a balance between mentally challenging and something the person can complete reasonably well independently. You also want to find a puzzle that maintains their dignity and holds their interest. For seniors, this is especially important.
- Start with a 50-100 piece jigsaw puzzle and see how it goes. Work with your senior. Are they interested? Can they concentrate at this level, and are they interested?
- What about the size of the pieces? Are they able to handle them and put them in place without assistance?
- If the answer is “no” to either of the above questions, try a puzzle with fewer pieces or larger pieces that are easier to manipulate and try again.
- When you get to a puzzle that keeps their interest, continues to challenge them without frustrating them, and is easy for them to assemble while still giving them a sense of accomplishment, you have found the right formula.
For many seniors with mild dementia or moderate arthritis, a puzzle of 50-100 pieces is a good fit. For seniors with more advanced dementia or severe problems with coordination or arthritis, there are easy puzzles with 36-100 individual pieces that are larger and easier to handle.
Puzzle Style is Important
While it will be easier for someone with arthritis or limited mobility to manipulate a 36 piece puzzle with larger pieces, you don’t want the puzzle image to be too childish. Finding images that are interesting to an adult but simple enough for their level of ability will mean taking the time to find age-appropriate puzzles that appeal to them and maintain their dignity. Numerous online companies specialize in puzzles for adults. They carry beautiful, easy puzzles with motifs such as famous paintings, landscapes, beach scenes, sports, animals and pets, famous places worldwide, and more.
Jigsaw puzzles are an excellent way to connect non-verbally with seniors who have speech problems or dementia. Working alongside them on a puzzle will reenforce your bond with them and create new memories. To find an appropriate puzzle, check out the Daily Caring’s article on jigsaw puzzles for seniors, which includes an extensive list of websites where you can purchase jigsaw puzzles for seniors.
Personalized Puzzles for Seniors
A lovely gift for the senior on your lift is a personalized jigsaw puzzle that stimulates their mind, is easy for them to manipulate, and captures a beautiful memory. Companies like Collage can help you create an easy puzzle for seniors using your own photographs. Upload the image, select from a range of sizes (anywhere from 30 to over 1,000 pieces), various styles, and make your own puzzle. Your loved one will end up with a puzzle they can assemble into a beautiful photo they’ll recognize and cherish.
Few games or activities are as satisfying as assembling a puzzle correctly. With so many varying degrees of difficulty available for seniors, you can now found easy puzzles for seniors with all levels of mental and physical limitations. These puzzles can keep them mentally stimulated and help with their fine motor skills as well.