Supporting Dementia Action Week – An Interview with Puzzle Artist Linda Jane Smith

21st May 2018

In the UK, one person develops dementia every three minutes. Yet too many people living with dementia face the condition alone and are excluded from society. But Alzheimer’s Society is leading the movement for change and are determined to create a dementia-friendly UK where people with dementia are included and supported to live the lives they want. Dementia Action Week (21-25th May 2018) is the chance to unite and take action on dementia, whether that’s spending time with a loved one who is living with the disease or campaigning to raise awareness.

Completing a jigsaw puzzle has not only reduces the risk of developing dementia but is also beneficial for those who have already been diagnosed with the condition. Which is why at Gibsons, we produce jigsaw puzzles with extra-large pieces that feature nostalgic images to help stimulate reminiscence and conversation. Linda Jane Smith is one of our most popular jigsaw puzzle artists whose paintings are used for both extra-large and standard sized puzzles. We interviewed Linda about her experiences with dementia and how painting and puzzles can have a huge impact of the lives of those living the disease.

linda jane smith

Hi Linda, thanks for speaking with us today. Dementia Action Week is a great way of raising awareness of dementia and turning understanding into action! Do you know anyone living with dementia?

My Mum has Dementia, and having experienced it for a few years I realise how it progressively draws in family and loved ones, affecting many people around them. Having already encountered it's effects through my partner's Mother, I recognised the signs when my own Mother's behaviour started to become unusual.

How do you help them cope with the disease? Do you have any advice for those who’s family members have been diagnosed?

The best thing to do is get some help; don't cope alone. There are many types of dementia, and by the time a diagnosis is made, if that's even possible, management of the condition could be beyond the capabilities of any one person. Contact one of the Dementia societies, and get some advice.

Completing a jigsaw puzzle reduces the risk of developing dementia and they are also great fun. Your designs are always full of colour and provide excellent entertainment Which is your favourite painting that we have turned into a puzzle?

I've always loved vintage items and nostalgia, and love incorporating these themes in all my work. Although I've always loved the cats, my new puzzles with the dogs have given me a lot of fun because of their different breeds and characters.

__When completing a painting, which is your favouritepart? __

I enjoy all the research that goes into the idea for the painting and the initial drawing. Once I start to paint, and it's all going well, it's so relaxing, and I love it.

What inspired the cheeky cats and dogs that feature in your paintings?

We share our lives with cats and dogs, they make us laugh and do funny things, and I try to put that into my paintings.

To support Dementia Action Week, we are donating 50p to the Alzheimer’s Society for every copy of Purrfect Chocolate 500 piece that is purchased through the All Jigsaw Puzzle website. Do you have any ideas on how other people can get involved to turn an understanding of dementia into an action?

Never be afraid to be friendly with, or keep an eye on, an elderly friend or neighbour; it can make a massive difference to their life. You may be the only person they talk to that day.

Gibson Banner DementiaWeek

To support Dementia Action Week and encourage jigsaw puzzling among those living with or without dementia, we have teamed up with All Jigsaw Puzzles to offer a half price promotion. Not only do customers get Linda Jane Smith’s 500 piece puzzle, Purrfect Chocolate, for half price when any Gibsons puzzle is ordered, Gibsons are also donating 50p to The Alzheimer’s Society for every copy of Purrfect Chocolate sold.

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Dementia Action Week is the perfect opportunity to take actions big and small to improve the lives of people affected by dementia. There are lots of ways you to get involved, head over to the Alzheimer's Society website to find out more.

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