There are almost 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease today.
Within the next 30 years or so, that number is expected to more than double to about 14 million. That means there’s a good chance that you or someone you know will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease at some point in time.
There is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease as of right now. But there are things people can do to slow the progression of it. Maintaining a balanced diet and getting enough exercise are two of them.
There are also many benefits of puzzles for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Doing something as simple as sitting down and doing a puzzle for an hour a day could be very beneficial for someone with the condition.
Here are 7 benefits of puzzles for Alzheimer’s disease patients.
1. Provides a Powerful Workout for the Brain
There are two sides to everyone’s brain. The left side of the brain is responsible for organizing things and utilizing logic, while the right side of the brain is responsible for creativity.
Those who have Alzheimer’s disease should work out both sides of the brain as often as they can to keep their brain active and healthy. And ideally, they should take part in activities that provide both sides of their brain with a workout at the same time.
Doing puzzles is one example of an activity that will work out both sides of the brain at once. It’s one of the biggest benefits of puzzles for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Reduces Cognitive Decline
Memory loss is one of the hardest things for people to deal with when they’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. While their memories are still somewhat sharp at the time of their initial diagnosis, it’s not out of the ordinary to see people sustain significant memory loss in the weeks, months, and years that follow.
It’s important to do whatever you can to slow the steady decline of cognitive functioning down as much as you can when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease patients. Putting a puzzle into their hands might be one way that you can do it.
While there is still a lot of research being done on the connection between puzzles and improved cognitive functioning, some studies have suggested that it certainly can’t hurt to encourage those with Alzheimer’s disease to do puzzles.
These studies have shown that those people who do puzzles perform better on tests related to memory than those who don’t.
3. Improves Visual Perception Skills
Visual perception is another thing that often declines when a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. People aren’t able to scan a room and quickly identify things like they were once able to do.
Puzzles force people to work on their visual perception skills, even if they don’t necessarily realize they’re doing it. As they look for different puzzle pieces that fit together, they’re constantly scanning the pieces available to them to search for matches.
This can improve both their visual perception and visual recognition.
4. Encourages Quiet Meditation
People with Alzheimer’s disease aren’t always sure what to do with themselves. As a result, they’re often very restless and get agitated easily.
This can be hard on both a person with Alzheimer’s disease and their loved ones. When the person is constantly on edge, it leads to uncomfortable situations that can quickly spiral out of control if everyone isn’t careful.
Puzzles ease the minds of those with Alzheimer’s disease and allow their loved ones to get a few minutes of peace in their lives. Since puzzles work on both sides of the brain, they tend to allow people to slip into a meditative state as they’re working on them.
When in this particular state of mind, people are more likely to feel a sense of calmness come over them. They’re also more likely to feel content with their lives as a whole, which will give everyone a chance to breathe a little easier.
5. Promotes Better Overall Health
There isn’t a whole lot of physical activity that goes into putting a puzzle together. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t physical health benefits that come with doing puzzles.
When a person sits and does a puzzle, it often slows their heart rate down significantly and brings their breathing down as well. Additionally, it can reduce their blood pressure, which is something that’s essential for Alzheimer’s disease patients.
All of this will work wonders for a person’s entire body. They’ll feel better when they do puzzles on a regular basis.
6. Increases Social Interactions
Those who are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease don’t usually get many opportunities to socialize with others. There are also many people with Alzheimer’s disease who would prefer not to socialize, which can lead to a serious decline in their social skills.
Puzzles can effectively break down walls and make socialization more natural for those with Alzheimer’s disease.
While they’re free to complete puzzles on their own if they want, they can also work on puzzles in groups and communicate with those around them without it feeling forced.
This kind of socialization is great for their brains and has also been shown to improve a person’s mood. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease will often feel better after socializing with someone else over a puzzle.
7. Produces a Sense of Accomplishment
Many of the people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease need others to help them with almost everything. They don’t get to accomplish many things on their own, especially as their condition worsens.
Puzzles give people a chance to achieve a sense of accomplishment when they complete a puzzle. It makes them feel like they have a strong purpose.
Use the Benefits of Puzzles to Your Advantage
If someone special to you was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, don’t ignore the potential benefits of puzzles. Whether your loved one was a puzzle person before or not, you should encourage them to make puzzles a bigger part of their life sooner than later.
You should also make sure your loved one is getting the right kind of care for their struggles with Alzheimer’s disease. We can set you up with the proper care and ensure your loved one leads a more comfortable life moving forward.
Contact us today to learn more about the services we have to offer.