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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

5 Things You Didn't Know About Jigsaw Puzzles for Elders

I had a great time doing a puzzle of a black cat with a senior over the age of 95, who had her own black cat sitting on her lap. We used one of the puzzles with large pieces and easy vision pictures. Our snacks and beverages helped to make it a "puzzle party". Because arthritis in the hands is so common, as well as poor vision, the puzzles with large pieces and easy pictures to see are helpful for elderly seniors.

The puzzle had 100 pieces, which makes it quick and fun. Below is a list of five things caregivers might not know about doing jigsaw puzzles with seniors. With snacks and beverages a caregiver can start a "puzzle party" to add a highlight to the day for someone.

1. Choose a puzzle with extra large pieces that are easy for people with arthritis to handle.

2. A puzzle with a picture suited for people with low vision, that avoids small, intricate details will be easier to see.

3. A puzzle with only 100, or even 50 or 30 pieces will be easier for someone who has Alzheimer's or dementia to enjoy and finish.

4. Caregivers and seniors can start by separating the pieces with similar colors and designs into groups on a table. This step makes it easier for anyone, and especially for elderly seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia.

5. Choose a picture of something that will spark interest. One senior I assisted collected antique style dolls and she did a victorian dolls picture. Another did one that looked like her own cat. An elderly gentleman did one of vintage cars.

You can go to to get ideas about puzzles. In my area the local "Dollar Store" always has a selection of puzzles in the games section, and for only a dollar each I can get several for variety.

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