“Memory Jogging Puzzles” were designed by a woman who watched her mother, disabled by a stroke in her 50s, deteriorate physically and mentally. The founder of Memory Jogging Puzzles did her research. She became aware of what is needed by activity directors in nursing homes and she designed two main products, with variations on each, to help fill those needs.
The puzzle designs are copied from Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers. “Memory Jogging Puzzles” have large, sturdy pieces that are easy to handle. These puzzles are made of wood. Cardboard puzzles, with nostalgic themes, are also offered.
Many people with dementia just like handling the interesting puzzle pieces, feeling the shapes and weight. That is enough.
But to many people in early-to-mid-Alzheimer’s stages, the simple pieces can be enough challenge to assemble that they feel like they’ve accomplished something (they have), but not so difficult that they get frustrated. They generally find the size of the pieces easy to handle and are pleased with the finished picture, often one they will remember from years past.
The other main product line on this site is “Memory Concentration Cards.” The cards are for those who were more into playing cards than doing puzzles. These cards are also easy to handle, with nostalgic themes and simple game rules (which could be entirely dispensed with). The card games work different skill sets than the puzzles. Both are said to help those with dementia retain function longer.
The puzzles and cards have made good impressions on many elder care professionals, as anyone visiting the “Memory Jogging Puzzles” site will see. According to the site, the puzzles help retain emotional memory, recognition memory, problem solving skills and socializing skills.
By checking out the Web site at www.memoryjoggingpuzzles.com, you can find out much more about the benefits of these products, as well as read endorsements from medical people and activity professionals. As a person who has coped with several elder’s dementia challenges, I was intrigued by both of these resources, though the puzzles interested me the most.
The site offers, as of now, eight Norman Rockwell/The Saturday Evening Post themed wooden puzzles, two themes in cardboard puzzles and three memory exercise card games called “Gossips,” “MatchMate” and “What’s Missing?” There are, according to the designer, more products to come.
Carol Bradley Bursack is a veteran family caregiver who spent more than two decades caring for a total of seven elders. She is a newspaper columnist and the author of Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. Bradley Bursack is also a contributor to several books on caregiving and dementia, and is passionate about preserving the dignity of elders. Her website is www.mindingourelders.com. Follow Carol on Twitter @mindingourelder and on Facebook at Minding Our Elders.