1273B N. Fairfield Rd.
Beavercreek, OH 45432
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How Puzzles Can Help You
Doing puzzles regularly can help combat Alzheimer's disease.
Stay Sharp in Your Later Years…Start Now!
Recent research has indicated that puzzles can play an important part in keeping older adults sharp.
In an article in Playthings Magazine, June 2005, Tina Benitez notes that many "senior retirement homes are stocking up on puzzles to help seniors keep their minds active".
Fighting Alzheimer's can be done by exercising the brain with such things as "reading, jigsaw puzzles or chess", according to an AP article appearing in the Dayton Daily News on March 6, 2001 which cites research done by Dr. Robert P. Friedland that appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This work showed that people in their 70s who "regularly participated in hobbies that were intellectually challenging during their younger years tended to be protected from Alzheimer's disease."
Michael Ryan, writing in Parade Magazine in June of 2001, suggests doing crosswords, anagrams and word games to help "keep the mind agile and the memory strong".
Rehabilitation - Hand-Eye Coordination and Motor Skills
Benitez (Playthings Magazine, 6/05) noted that "rehabilitation centers are also using puzzles with children and adults with neurological problems to help with hand-eye coordination and other motor and cognitive problems".
Three dimensional puzzles help people with physical hand problems in that they require the use of two hands to assemble; those who favor or have lesser abilities with one hand are forced to use both hands together to build the structure.
Lateral Thinking - For Adults and Kids
Lateral thinking puzzles challenge people to look at things differently - to find alternate solutions when the obvious choices, tainted by our preconceived notions, are not correct. The phrase "lateral thinking" was coined by Edward de Bono, who "consults with schools and major corporations to spark ingenuity and inspire problem-solving among people." (Better Homes and Gardens, June 2005)
Completing a puzzle is a rewarding experience.
Paul Sloane, author of numerous lateral thinking puzzle books (link here) notes that these type of puzzles make children think creatively - "No matter what type of puzzle they try, their mind still has to follow a deliberate, systematic process that leaves them dreaming up plenty of highly imaginative ideas." (same - BHG, p. 184). The benefits to solving lateral thinking problems are numerous - they force children to think of many solutions, they help kids be better problem solvers which impacts their schoolwork in general, and it helps them build more self confidence (Better Homes and Gardens, June 2005), according to de Bono. So…start early with your children!
"Spend an old-fashioned evening with your family or friends quietly working on it (a jigsaw puzzle or board game) together" suggests Marilyn Vos Savant in Parade Magazine, December 2, 2001.
Jigsaws Are For All Ages
Jigsaw manufacturers must have seen the baby boomers putting on their reading glasses, because many companies now offer larger piece puzzles with pictures and themes that appeal to adults. These generally are 300 oversized-piece puzzles, but some have as few as 150 pieces. Not only are they easier to see, they are easier to handle for those who suffer from arthritis or other limiting problems.
Children as young as 3 of 4 years are capable of doing larger puzzles - as many as 300 pieces - according to Marlene Barron, head of West Side Montessori School in New York City (Young Children, Sept. 1999, p 10 - 11). They studied children as they completed puzzles and noted that "children shared strategies with partners" as well enjoyed a "social literacy activity"