Jigsaw puzzles can be a powerful therapeutic tool for people living with dementia. They can help provide a creative outlet, relieve boredom and anxiety, promote connection and social interaction with others, and provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment. These therapeutic benefits make jigsaw puzzles a great activity for everyone. For dementia care partners, jigsaw puzzles can be a way to meaningful connect with their partner or potentially allow them to get other things done while their partner is joyfully engaged. For grandchildren, it can provide an opportunity for them to find purpose and connect with their grandparent in a fun way. For people living with dementia, jigsaw puzzles can be a great source of joy, challenge, pride, and purpose.
Some studies have even revealed that jigsaw puzzles can potentially improve cognitive function, especially visuospatial cognition such as reasoning, perception, mental rotation, constructional praxis, flexibility, working memory, and episodic memory.
However, please understand that there is no "quick fix" solution to improving a person's cognition and that puzzles should never be used as a drilling technique or exercise in attempt to improve a person's with dementia's cognition. It's better and much more enjoyable to focus on the many other therapeutic benefits of jigsaw puzzles!
Does your partner living with dementia love jigsaw puzzles?
Research article: Jigsaw Puzzling Taps Multiple Cognitive Abilities and Is a Potential Protective Factor for Cognitive Aging
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