Are Puzzles Good For Dementia Patients?

by Donna Brown, Puzzle Queen

dementia patients working together to complete jigsaw puzzle - The Missing Piece Puzzle Company

Why Are Puzzles Good For Dementia Patients?

Jigsaw puzzles are ideal for patients with Dementia and Alzheimers.  While puzzles are therapeutic, they also provide exercise in memory and are said to improve brain functions, especially short-term memory.

In any stage of Dementia or Alzheimer's, puzzles are said to ease some of the symptoms and provide stimulating comfort to the patients, as well as provide a sense of control.  Puzzles, especially custom photo puzzles, can reawaken memories in patients and improve mental speed and thought processes.  Further, puzzles are thought to decrease mental decline and cognitive functioning.  But mental processes are not the only way that puzzles help Dementia and Alzheimer's patients.

Jigsaw Puzzles help to stimulate the brain and also provide a social activity that can help connect the patient to caregivers and loved ones while helping to create a positive emotional connection.  Many dementia patients lose interest in activities easily and jigsaw puzzles can help stabilize this decline.  After all, who can pass a puzzle in the works and not try to help?

How do puzzles help dementia patients?

  1. Improving interactions with others
  2. Calming activity
  3. Mental stimulation on both sides of the brain
  4. Provide a feeling of accomplishment
  5. Help us feel good with a release of dopamine upon finding a piece.
  6. Lower blood pressure and help meditate.

How to choose the correct puzzle for an Alzheimer and Dementia Patient.

Not all puzzles are equal and not all patients are in the same category when it comes to selecting the proper puzzle to use.  Here are some considerations to use when selecting a puzzle for your loved one with Dementia.

  1. Choose a puzzle that will evoke memories.  Custom photo puzzles  with large puzzle pieces are perfect for patients as they may evoke memories of self and loved ones in the process.  Personalized puzzles are perfect for this. 
  2. Set up a station where the puzzle will be assembled that provides proper lighting and is a place that won't be used for other activities often.  
  3. Place a white tablecloth over the table.  This will help add contrast to the area for those with vision difficulties.  
  4. Choose the piece count wisely.  Choose puzzles with large pieces that are challenging to complete, which will challenge the mind.  The goal is to challenge the mind, while also being possible to assemble.

Large Puzzle Piece for Dementia Patient showing the head with cut out of puzzle - The Missing Piece Puzzle Co

In closing, choosing an engaging activity that involves the use of jigsaw puzzles is fun and therapeutic.  Coming up with activities isn't always easy and using Jigsaw Puzzles can provide a great therapy session for those who have Alzheimers or Dementia.  



Donna Brown, Puzzle Queen
Donna Brown, Puzzle Queen


Donna Brown, Puzzle Queen is the owner of The Missing Piece Puzzle Company and is passionate about making high-quality custom jigsaw puzzles "Made In America FAST".
Her love of the product shows in every puzzle that she makes.
A retired teacher of Special Needs students and a widowed Mom to an amazing son with Autism, life tends to be like a puzzle with each piece an important part of who Donna is.

1 Response


June 08, 2021

My parents who are in their 70s enjoy puzzles. They started doing them during the pandemic and are now addicted.

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