Best Puzzles for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients
It is heartbreaking to see our once active and alert loved ones suffer from dementia and Alzheimer’s. While there is no cure for these conditions, there are ways to ease some of the symptoms and provide stimulating comfort to the patients.
Jigsaw puzzles are especially ideal for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimers. They are therapeutic and improve brain functions, particularly short-term memory. When solving as a group, puzzles also improve interactions with others.
Thus, in this article, we check out puzzles (and a handful of other similar games) that are recommended for patients as well as a short helpful guide at the end of the article to help our loved ones who suffer from these conditions.
- 1 Best Puzzles for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients
- 1.1 Caleb 1,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults
- 1.2 Babalu Dual Challenge Crossword and Jigsaw Puzzle
- 1.3 ShelleyBees Shape Sorting Puzzle for the Elderly
- 1.4 Keeping Busy Match the Shapes Game
- 1.5 Keeping Busy Expressions Game
- 1.6 GeriGuard Solutions BEAT-THE-BOX Game for Seniors
- 1.7 Tag Products USA Standing Latch & Key Center Memory Loss Toy for Seniors
- 1.8 Relish Burano Island 63 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
- 2 Tips on planning activities for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s
- 3 Best Puzzles for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients Buying Guide
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Best Puzzles for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients
Caleb 1,000 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle for Adults
This 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle is perfect for bringing fun and improving thinking ability and endurance. It’s highly recommended for adults as it provides mental stimulation.
The puzzle pieces are made from high-quality virgin wood pulp and are completely non-toxic. The thickness is 2mm which is better than other jigsaw puzzles found online. It also has a partition design in the backside with letters A-F to easily sort the areas by letters.
You can display the finished puzzle by putting it inside a frame and hanging it in your living room, bedroom, and other places.
This brings out a sense of accomplishment especially when it’s done by dementia or Alzheimer’s patients. The 1,000-piece puzzles have 5 different styles to choose from and are really affordable.
What makes the Caleb 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle a great buy is that the manufacturer guarantees the completeness of the package. Caleb will happily send a replacement if there’s a missing piece.
Babalu Dual Challenge Crossword and Jigsaw Puzzle
The Babalu 2-in-1 puzzle game for adults is a nice way to mentally stimulate dementia and Alzheimer’s patients because of its challenging but fun design.
One can solve the crossword puzzles on paper first then proceed to construct the 24” x 18” puzzle pieces. Needless to say, it’s a great way to entertain the elderly for hours. This also keeps them off the television screens as they will surely love to play this board game by themselves or with their close friends or loved ones.
The puzzle pieces are 550 pieces in total and are made from high-quality cardboard. The product currently has a high rating on Amazon and is also really affordable.
It’s highly recommended not just for adults but also for children so that they’ll be able to learn a few words and challenge their critical thinking at the same time.
ShelleyBees Shape Sorting Puzzle for the Elderly
The ShelleyBees shape sorting puzzle for the elderly works best for people who like sorting items and managing stuff. This shape sorting game has 3 boards each with 6 shapes for a total of 18 sorting shapes.
All of the game’s pieces are of the same color, helping prevent confusion and frustration from players. The corresponding shapes on the board also share the same color to help users look for the correct placement.
For most people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, the game is a nice addition aside from the usual bingo games or jigsaw puzzles because it’s an ability-related game.
Some patients will find this more challenging than other activities. This shape sorting puzzle game by ShelleyBees has been play-tested in several dementia homes and nursing homes and suffice to say, it has passed with flying colors.
It has also been tested on nurseries making this an ideal game for children and the elderly alike.
Keeping Busy Match the Shapes Game
The Match the Shapes game by Keeping Busy is specifically designed for patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. It’s not a childish game by any means and is an age-appropriate puzzle that provides patients with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
The game has 36 brightly colored tiles that provide attention and tactile stimulation. It’s fun to look at and handle and is free of any unnecessary markings to avoid distraction.
The game also comes with detailed instructions on how to introduce the activity to the players. Its guide prescribes ways on how to adjust the mechanics to match the patient’s abilities since they change over time. This shape sorting game presents a cognitive challenge and helps patients with dexterity issues.
Finally, it can be played by a single patient or as part of a group activity.
Keeping Busy Expressions Game
Here’s another one from the same manufacturer. The Keeping Busy expressions game is designed to bring fun and excitement to patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The game is easy to present as all you have to do is simply read out the card and watch as the patients shout out the answers. Since this is a highly responsive game, dementia and Alzheimer’s patients will immediately feel a sense of achievement and pride when they come up with the answer.
The game has been fully tested with patients suffering from various stages of dementia to ensure that it’s well suited and enjoyed by everyone.
You’ll often notice while playing this game that even the participants will be surprised that they know the answers by memory.
GeriGuard Solutions BEAT-THE-BOX Game for Seniors
This game helps seniors sharpen their basic math skills. The game is easy to learn where all players have to do is throw the dice in the center of the box and flip down the number that corresponds to the total of the dice. The game has to go on until the players can no longer flip any numbers. The game ends when all numbers are flipped so they can start again.
The game box is made from premium wood and comes with an eco-friendly tote bag so you can carry the game anywhere and even hang it off the back of a walker or a wheelchair.
It’s a great activity for the elderly as it helps improve their concentration. It also keeps them entertained for long periods.
Tag Products USA Standing Latch & Key Center Memory Loss Toy for Seniors
The standing latch and key center toy from Tag Products USA is a unique puzzle activity for patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s because it utilizes common day-to-day activities for mental stimulation.
This game helps restore the elderly’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination especially for those who like working with their hands. This puzzle game also improves hand control, muscle strength, and finger dexterity while keeping patients occupied for long periods to alleviate boredom.
The board is made from solid hardwood with brass plated hardware and is designed and made in the USA. It’s a top-selling toy and is a favorite among caregivers because it improves a patient’s memory skills.
The only drawback we can think of on this puzzle game is it’s pricier than the rest on this list.
Relish Burano Island 63 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
If the 1,000-piece puzzle that we chose earlier in the list proves to be a challenge for your patients, then the Relish 63-piece jigsaw puzzle should be a fun alternative.
This jigsaw puzzle features beautifully illustrated pictures that evoke memories of old. It’s proven to spark conversations between participants and have them reminisce about their younger days.
The large puzzle pieces are designed to provide the right balance of challenge, interest, and engagement for people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
The game is made from high-quality cardboard and is easily cleanable for repeated use. Overall, the game helps improve our elderly’s overall well-being and creates a fun environment for everyone.
Tips on planning activities for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s
Always remember the level of difficulty when planning activities for patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. If you’ve prepared simplistic exercises such as coloring a book, some patients may find it offensive or may even feel insulted.
Consider their level of intellect and arrange assignments such as solving crossword or jigsaw puzzles for mental stimulation. This has the potential to ease their symptoms and can also be a wonderful distraction from their day-to-day activities.
Be mindful though as a highly difficult puzzle may sometimes frustrate them so always keep this in mind when planning activities outside of the usual bingo game.
If you’re taking care of patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, it’s best to prioritize enjoyment over achievement. Because of their declining abilities and advanced age, let them find ways to discover what they like and let them fully express themselves.
Don’t think about the outcome of certain activities and wanting to fulfill your planned objectives, it’s important to just enjoy the process and the moment spent with patients. It’s about the engagement and not the result.
Relation with the Patient
You’ll often notice that some patients are more responsive to specific activities compared to others depending on the type of activity planned.
This is because a former outdoorsman may take pleasure in watering the garden or taking part in yard work than an office worker who is more inclined to organize or assemble a to-do list. It’s best to contextualize a patient’s interest in every activity to keep them engaged.
When planning activities for sufferers of dementia and Alzheimer’s, always ask one question at a time. Make sure you are easy to understand and speak slowly in a distinct and reassuring tone. If a patient is struggling for a reply, it’s okay to suggest words.
Break down the activities into a series of steps to make the tasks more manageable and don’t forget to assist along the way.
Best Puzzles for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients Buying Guide
A lot of puzzles that cater to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients are usually cheap and affordable to buy in bulk. This ensures everyone gets a chance to enjoy the puzzles especially if you are caring for a large number of patients. Jigsaw puzzles are popular among residents and there are a lot of options to choose from.
The easy ones have pieces of around 30 to 300 while the more challenging jigsaws range from 500-pieces to 1,000.
As mentioned above, the total size of a puzzle game should also be a factor when choosing the best one for your patients. It’s better to go for the smaller ones when used on an individual basis rather than having a 1,000-piece set that covers the entire table.
A larger game is usually reserved for group activities where everyone is expected to participate in.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia. While dementia is the gradual loss of a person’s ability to remember, think, and reason, Alzheimer’s is a complex series of age-related brain changes that occur over decades.
What are the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease?
The usual symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s are a decline in the aspect of cognitive thinking such as using the right words in a conversation, vision or spatial issues, and impaired reasoning and judgment.
The stages of Alzheimer’s disease range from mild, moderate, and severe. A person with mild Alzheimer’s may already exhibit the signs described above. As it progresses into the later stages, memory loss and confusion may start to worsen.
One may tend to have problems remembering friends and loved ones. Once it goes severe, patients may lose the ability to communicate and require total care.
Do puzzles help cure dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?
Solving puzzles helps improve memory and brain function. It’s an integral part of an overall treatment program for those affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s but it doesn’t serve as a cure for the disease.
Is there a cure for dementia?
There is currently no cure for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Certain activities, such as puzzles, serve as a form of therapy while also improving patients’ brain functions.