Puzzles are a great way of exercising your mind, a critical activity for seniors who want to stay active and slow the cognitive declines that can impact people as they age. Spending some time each day working on the best custom jigsaw puzzle you can put your hands on is not just a wonderful way to pass the time, but it also helps sharpen problem-solving skills and visual-spatial reasoning.

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A Deeper Look at the Many Benefits Puzzles Offer Seniors

Doing even a simple puzzle challenges both the logical left side of the brain and the creative right side of the brain. Here are some other benefits puzzles can offer seniors:

  • Problem-solving: The trial-and-error nature of puzzles stimulates different parts of the brain, helping to strengthen critical and analytical skills as the person tries to solve the puzzle from different angles.
  • Short-term memory: Existing neuron relationships are strengthened and new connections are created by doing puzzles, which is particularly helpful for memory, information processing, and reasoning skills. 
  • Visual-spatial reasoning: Envisioning the final result, as well as finding and placing different shaped pieces together to create a larger image, helps with the spatial awareness and reasoning needed in everyday life.
  • Mood booster: As you work on a puzzle, your brain releases dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, as well as contributes to memory, mood, sleep, learning, concentration, etc.  
  • Stress reducer: Focusing on a puzzle pulls your mind away from issues that might be causing stress. This helps reduce anxiety and the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Stress is believed to contribute to cognitive decline and dementia.
  • Fine motor skills: Working with puzzle pieces can help enhance hand-eye coordination, which is helpful for those who suffered a stroke or have stiff arthritic hands.
  • Improve sleep: Instead, working on a puzzle in the evening can enhance the quality of sleep.
  •  Socialization and loneliness: Solving a puzzle with others is one way to reduce loneliness, build relationships, collaborate, and chat with others who share a common interest. 
  • Delay dementia: Studies have shown that seniors who regularly do puzzles have stronger cognitive abilities than non-puzzlers.

Seniors who are already experiencing some cognitive decline can still enjoy working on a puzzle, but it’s best to stick with ones that have fewer pieces. Gifting a custom puzzle from MakeYourPuzzles with an image that triggers fond memories (e.g., a favorite vacation spot, artist, animal, etc.) is also something to consider.

Custom Photo Jigsaw Puzzle Couple on bicycles kissing | MakeYourPuzzles

Some Fun Facts About Puzzles

The concept of a jigsaw puzzle was introduced in 1760 by a Longdon cartographer. ‘Dissections’ were what jigsaw puzzles were originally called, and they were primarily used for teaching geography. They got their current name because of the jigsaws that were used to cut a puzzle board into multiple interlocking pieces.

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Final Thoughts

Puzzles are an excellent mental activity that can delay the effects of aging on your brain as well as provide opportunities to make new friends. MakeYourPuzzles has the best custom puzzle options out there–get started on your personalized puzzle today!

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