Jigsaw puzzles are often a generational hobby. Many individuals started puzzling by seeing a loved one's interest and joining in. A versatile pastime, it can be done solo or in a group, and you can play using traditional forms or online through interactive apps and video games.
While most seniors put together puzzles for pleasure, they also gain many mental, physical and emotional benefits. Here we discuss how puzzles help maintain skills and what you can do to make puzzling easier in your assisted living apartment at Cambridge Court or anywhere else.
The scientific world is just starting to conduct studies on the benefits of snapping together pieces into a uniform picture. Studies have shown that the concentration and memory needed to complete puzzles provide healthy stimulation to the brain, boosting cognitive abilities.
Matching shapes, colors and patterns may seem like a simple concept at first glance. However, this activity sharpens logic and reasoning, pushing the player to think and plan as they go.
Physical abilities are also honed at the puzzle table. Fingers must nimbly pick up and hold small pieces, improving agility and flexibility.
The eyes have to find the correct place to position the piece, and then the hands and eyes have to work together to join the pieces correctly. These careful movements can help increase focus and control.
Jigsaw puzzles are considered relaxing and captivating by many participants. Here in the Cambridge Court assisted living community in Kearney, residents tend to gravitate to the puzzles we set up in the common rooms.
This casual setting makes it easy for groups of seniors from varying backgrounds and interests to gather. Conversation is perfectly acceptable but not necessary, which can take the pressure off individuals who are shy or new. The quiet activity can help them feel more comfortable, as they aren't the center of attention.
Puzzles are also a great way to entertain visiting grandchildren. Seniors may wish to keep a few age-appropriate selections with fewer pieces to welcome their young guests, such as pictures of cartoon characters, dinosaurs, candy shops or toys.
One of the positive aspects of puzzling is how simple it is to do. All that's needed is a chair for each puzzler and a table-like surface large enough to accommodate the desired puzzle.
Seniors here in Cambridge Court can make the activity even easier with a few convenient accessories and storage tips, including these five suggestions.
One of the most popular mats on Amazon, Becko's puzzle keeper holds puzzles with up to 1,500 pieces. In-progress and finished puzzles can be rolled up and put away until needed, freeing valuable space in your assisted living apartment.
This extra-large workspace fits most 1,500-piece projects. It rests easily on tables and counters, letting you move your work-in-progress to your desired location. Four drawers are conveniently tucked underneath to make sorting and storing loose pieces a snap.
This lidded organizer by Tidy Boss features eight stackable trays for holding loose puzzle pieces. Its compact design makes it easy to stash within reach while providing enough room for up to 1,500 pieces.
This wooden puzzle easel tilts up so you can comfortably view your current project. It has five height selections to ensure the optimal tilt to reduce glares. It also can help ease neck and back strain.
Although designed as an art portfolio book, this durable binder makes it easy to display up to 40 completed jigsaw puzzles. Roughly 24 by 18 inches, it fits many brands of 500-piece puzzles.
Electronic jigsaw puzzle games let you store hundreds of puzzles on your computer to play at your leisure. When using a puzzle app on your smartphone or tablet, you can even put puzzles together while waiting at the doctor's office or outside on the patio here at Cambridge Court.
One of the best ad-free computer versions is on Steam. Other players highly recommend it thanks to the beautiful photos and easy-to-use controls. Hundreds of puzzles are available through themed add-on packs. Regularly on sale, these packs contain 8-30 puzzles and typically cost less than $5. As a bonus, every time a new collection is released, the company gives away a puzzle, so there are numerous ones to try for free.
Calling itself the original puzzle app, this MobilityWare game has thousands of puzzles. While most have to be purchased, there are tons of freebies, and the company lets players access one store puzzle for free each day.
An impressive online website, Jigsaw Explorer lets you piece together puzzles in your browser. It offers hundreds of puzzles without ads for free. Difficulty can be set up to 1,000 pieces, and players can upload their own photos for custom projects. Multiplayer options are also available, so seniors can play with family and friends.