When you think about people with Dementia, you don’t usually think about them doing mentally challenging activities, but puzzles are actually something that really helps their condition improve! It’s called puzzle therapy!
Puzzle Therapy is an alternative therapy method that helps relieve symptoms of Dementia such as depression and agitation. This type of therapy involves a simple task where people are required to complete a puzzle within a specific timeframe. Puzzle games require accuracy, concentration, and focus which can help improve memory and hand-eye coordination. Puzzle games activate different areas of the brain that stimulate certain neurons that in turn can improve a person’s mental state. These games also give a sense of accomplishment which has been proven to release Dopamine, the happiness hormone, in the brain.
Puzzle games have been known to have an effect on people with dementia because they activate certain memories from their past and it gives them a sense of purpose when doing something. Which helps their condition improve drastically!
How Are Dementia Puzzles Helpful?
Puzzle-based activities keep those with dementia active and engaged as they work to complete the activity, whether it involves putting together a jigsaw puzzle or completing crossword puzzles.
No matter the difficulty, puzzles come in all different shapes and sizes, but generally, they help with memory, attention, and visuospatial skills (like rotating objects). Puzzle tasks often require people to follow rules or solve a problem. They also involve searching for things that are hidden. These activities can also encourage communication between dementia patients and their caregivers or peers. This is done because the activity often requires an explanation of specific steps. They are good for those with dementia because of their ability to keep them active, improve mood, and increase socialization, things that they might not be doing on a regular basis on their own!
What’s great about puzzles is that they can really help the brain by making the brain focus on one thing, memories. When the brain is constantly working on putting the pieces together, it’s going to have to keep remembering the overall pattern and making sure all of the pieces actually fit together perfectly! This is important because puzzles typically help with spatial awareness or with recognizing patterns, both of which deteriorate as the brain begins to lose mass in the early stages of dementia. By exercising the brain during the fun activity, the symptoms of dementia may slow down!
Can Dementia Puzzles Relax a Patient?
When a patient is going through dementia, even the earliest of signs, they begin to feel a loss of control. Not remembering everything as seamlessly as you once did can have a pretty massive effect on someone’s personality. That’s where Puzzle work comes in. It offers a sense of control and the opportunity to participate in stimulating activities. This enables people to enjoy the pleasant effects of flow, which is characterized by deep concentration and forgetting about time. Puzzle tasks also often help stimulate thinking outside the box. That’s something many people who have dementia need help doing.
Puzzle work can be particularly helpful to people with dementia who can’t communicate anymore. That’s because it provides them with a stimulating activity. All without them having to socialize at all. It offers a sense of control and the opportunity to participate in stimulating activities, so it’s often used as part of occupational therapy.
Can Puzzles Be an Alternative to Meditation?
Meditation means different things for different people. Essentially, it’s all about connecting with one’s mind. Helping them get to a place where everything slows down and the person can relax and focus properly. This is the exact same effect that one can have by solving puzzles. Which is evident even if they’re not particularly good at them. Meditation helps dementia patients by improving their concentration and memory. Puzzle work is also something that helps dementia patients because it gets them thinking. What’s great is that it can be done together with someone else to help socialize the patient. That on its own is a benefit because they can easily work together with someone without feeling the pressure of socializing, which can be a bit of a problem with people that are suffering from dementia.
What Else Do Puzzles Do?
Even though the main problem one would want to focus on when dealing with someone with dementia would be their memory, that’s not the only aspect of their condition they need to work on, but memory goes hand in hand with all the other aspects of their brain too!
It’s important that even if their life is difficult with the disease, they don’t give up. Their brain needs a healthy dose of Dopamine every now and then. Solving puzzles can be the perfect medium for that to happen!
People with dementia don’t usually get to feel the success of life the way an average person would. It’s because they don’t really get to follow through with anything major. So solving an entire puzzle, would be a very satisfying experience! whether they do it on their own or with the help of someone else! It will give them that little feeling of accomplishment that they probably don’t get in their life anymore!
This would usually mean that they will probably need a puzzle that is challenging enough but still appropriate for the stage in dementia that they might be in. With the right puzzle, they can end up making a lot of progress with their condition!
Every Puzzle Piece Matters
Dementia is a disease that manifests differently in different people. One person might have a relatively easy time adjusting to the symptoms, while another finds it the total opposite. No matter who the person is, what stage of life they’re in, and how they’re coping, puzzles are something they can all get together around. They’re fun and easy, and can help dementia patients in more ways than one! They will be able to exercise their brain, relax while working on their focus, meditate without even realizing it! They can even socialize more than they would normally! Dementia puzzles are the perfect way for the patient to get out of the pressures of dementia itself. It will help them focus on something that will bring them the bits of joy they might be missing in their life!