Jigsaw Puzzles. A simple, old fashioned way to exercise the mind

Jigsaw puzzles can be a great way to help fight dementia

Jigsaw puzzles. A great way to stimulate the memory and help fight off dementia

Jigsaw puzzles are an excellent way to exercise the memory.

Jigsaw puzzles seem a bit old-fashioned and dull to most people but the good old-fashioned jigsaw could be a great way to help fight off early onset dementia and other forms of dementia’s as we grow older research has suggested.

If you know or care for a person who has a memory loss condition,  it may well help them to exercise their memory by using old-fashioned jigsaw puzzles.

They can be done at leisure, they are cheap to buy and can be easily saved.

We have a large selection of Jigsaw’s for sale on our dementia shop here

Mental exercise is like brain fitness

It is becoming more and more apparent that we must try to exercise our minds more if we are to give ourselves the best chance of not developing memory loss as we grow older and research has shown that we must try to exercise our memories as much as we try to exercise our bodies.

This means trying to do at least one or more form of mental exercise at least 3-4 times a week that is outside of our normal daily mental use. So why not try doing jigsaw puzzles.

The great thing about doing this kind of puzzle is that it can be as simple or as difficult as you want to make it.

You can get a jigsaw that can fit all mental capabilities, from the young to the old.

You can get children’s and ones which are tailored to adults with learning disabilities. These puzzles may consist of only 5 or 6 pieces, which are ideal for a person that is suffering from dementia. Or you could buy a more complicated one that may have up to 2 or 3000 pieces. The difficulty factor with a jigsaw can also be determined by what picture is displayed and by how big the jigsaw is .

Doing jigsaw puzzles. How we got on.

Jigsaw puzzles can have more than 1000 pieces

First buy a jigsaw you want to do

First we went and bought a few jigsaw’s from our local charity shop. We bought 3 jigsaw’s in total with a total spend of £3.00. There was a good selection available to buy, ranging in price from 25 pence up to £2.00 for a brand new, unopened one still in its cellophane wrapper.

The 3 jigsaws we bought consisted of two with 500 pieces and one with 1000 pieces.  The one we have decided to do was called “The New Major” by Trevor Mitchell. The manufacturer was Gibson Puzzles and it consisted of 500 pieces.

Count the jigsaw puzzle pieces

We opened the box and first counted all the pieces to make sure that we had all the pieces.  Amazingly they were all there.

The best place to do a jigsaw is on a large, flat, stable surface. It’s always advisable to measure the table or hard surface your using to make sure that the jigsaw will fit onto the surface your going to be using. The jigsaw should have the completed size on the side or back of the box.

Try to fit the edges of the jigsaw together first to make doing the jigsaw easier

I began with the edges of the jigsaw

Once we checked the finished size to make sure it fits on our board, we began by trying to find all the edges of the jigsaw puzzle (easier said than done I might add). Once we had found most of the pieces with a flat edge, we fit them together to make the outside area.

Working with the different shades of colours within the jig saw helped us to fit the pieces together. The sky was the easiest pieces to fit together.

The total time it had taken me so far was 2 hours. Its amazing where time goes. I can see why a jigsaw would exercise the mind, my heads hurting trying to work out where the all pieces go.

4 hours in and several tea breaks later, I’m starting to get the hang of this jigsaw business.

Try using the picture on the jigsaw box to help you fit the pieces of jigsaw together

My jigsaw is nearly finished

I try to put all the similar coloured pieces together in one area, inside the perimeter of the jigsaw where I think the pieces might go. I then try to fit them together by following the picture of the drawing on the box front of the puzzle. Using your memory is needed if you want to remember where you saw the piece on the picture then relate it to where on the puzzle the piece fits. I quickly dismiss the thought of cheating. (Is it possible with a jigsaw)

I have also  received help, gratefully,  from my wife and mother, who was visiting that afternoon.

It’s strange how other people see missing pieces.  I’d been looking for a piece of jigsaw puzzle for what seemed like hours only for my wife to come straight up to the jigsaw and pick up a piece and fit it perfectly into place. My brain is feeling like it has definitely been given a workout.   I was convinced that piece of the puzzle was lost.

The completed jigsaw puzzle.

My finished jigsaw. Almost!


The finished jigsaw puzzle

5 hours  later and it’s finished. Wow.

That really was a test of concentration and mental stamina. It is true that a jigsaw is a good puzzle to help give your brain a good workout. I feel mentally drained.

I don’t know if doing a jigsaw is something that I will be doing on a weekly basis or if I could ever see myself doing a jigsaw workout 3 or 4 times a week but if jigsaw’s take your fancy or you are looking for a way to test your ability to concentrate I certainly would recommend trying a jigsaw puzzle.

 I must have lost a piece

oops! One piece of the jigsaw is missing.

Where did the last piece of jigsaw go?

It also seems that I can’t count. (or see properly) because after closer inspection I found that I had either lost a piece or the jigsaw came with 499 pieces rather than the 500 it should have.

Now that also adds frustration to the lists of things gained from doing jigsaw puzzles.

There are many other benefits you can get from doing a jigsaw besides just giving your brain a workout. If you work with, or care for somebody with dementia or learning disabilities it can be a great personal achievement for the person to complete a jigsaw. It may only be one with a few pieces but it can also help with eye and hand co-ordination and is also great for communication skills between you and the person doing the Puzzle.

There are many jig-saw’s available to buy today that can be tailored to your or a dementia sufferers needs, these can include a family photo or a place a person likes.

A personal photo or picture is chosen and you decide how many pieces you would like the jigsaw cut out into. The jigsaw is then tailor-made for your own personal use.

You can find a selection of big piece jigsaws for sale here


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