Jigsaw puzzles are a timeless form of entertainment for people of all ages. Children tackle simple puzzles and adults enjoy working more challenging puzzles. Puzzles often are available to older adults in senior living communities because of the many benefits residents can get from spending even a little time working on them. But what are these benefits of jigsaw puzzles to seniors?
Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles for Seniors
Jigsaw puzzles come in many levels of difficulty and many different designs. Most people are able to find a style, size, and subject that interests them. Here are just a few of the benefits older adults can get from doing jigsaw puzzles:
- Puzzles Improve Short-Term Memory
Doing a puzzle exercises the area of the brain that stores memories. A person has to remember pieces they’ve seen before when putting a puzzle together. Strengthening and exercising short-term memory is especially important for older adults.
- Puzzles Challenge the Right and Left Sides of the Brain
Putting together a puzzle strengthens the connections within a person’s brain. It takes both sides of the brain working together to solve even the simplest of puzzles. To put together a puzzle, a person must use the critical thinking part of their brain as well as the creative, problem-solving part. Doing a puzzle also challenges visual-spatial reasoning as a person tries to decide if a piece will fit in a certain spot or not. Tapping into all parts of the brain is especially beneficial in helping seniors keep their minds sharp.
- Puzzles Encourage Social Collaboration
While putting a puzzle together can be a great individual activity, it’s also ideal for collaboration. Working with others to solve a problem and achieve a common goal brings a feeling of satisfaction. This social interaction is important to keeping seniors active and engaged.
- Puzzle-Solving Provides Meditative Qualities
Spending time working on a puzzle can help lower stress levels and improve a person’s mood. People get this benefit not just from finishing a puzzle but even from getting one piece in the right place!
- Puzzles Are Fun!
Anyone who has spent any amount of time working on a puzzle knows they are fun! It’s a good way to spend a few hours or even just a few minutes at a time. Puzzles can be done alone or with a group and can be a great conversation starter.
While puzzles benefit people of all ages, the benefits are especially pronounced for seniors. Puzzles improve brains, help people relax, are a good opportunity for social interaction, and are just good fun!
Lutheran Senior Services (LSS) communities provide many activities that help older adults stay active and engaged. Visit our communities page to find an LSS community near you!