Supporting Dementia Action Week – How Jigsaw Puzzles can help those living with Dementia

20th May 2019

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 (20-26th May 2019) unites people, workplaces, schools and communities to act and improve the lives of people living with dementia.

Completing a jigsaw puzzle not only reduces the risk of developing dementia but is also beneficial for those who have already been diagnosed with the condition. The charity, Unforgettable Foundation report that in a Cochrane Review of different studies, scientists looked at 718 men and women with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The results revealed that mental stimulation such as completing a jigsaw, improved scores on memory and thinking tests, which is the equivalent to a 6-9 month delay in worsening of symptoms. Some of the studies also found that those with living with dementia who engaged in such activities had increased feelings of well-being and a better quality of life, including improved communication and interactions with those around them.

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Gibsons are working hard to develop a range of jigsaw puzzles especially designed to help those living with dementia. The series will be released in 2020 and will consist of illustrated and photographic puzzles that are also ideal for those with sight or handling difficulties due to the larger pieces. To ensure Gibsons cater to an array of abilities the puzzles will be available in different piece counts, and the designs will include carefully selected themes to stimulate happy memories.

Gibsons’ Product Development Manager, Emily Charles, says “Puzzling provides many health benefits, especially for the older generation. Physically joining the puzzle pieces together enhances motor skills and provides mental exercise which can boost memory and self-esteem. We have thoughtfully designed each puzzle to help evoke memories of a bygone era, and to encourage conversation though reminiscing. Each puzzle in presented in a beautifully designed box making them perfect gifts of for puzzlers who require larger pieces.”

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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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