Can Working on Easy Puzzles Help Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay?

Can Working on Easy Puzzles Help Keep Alzheimer’s at Bay?

Like all other parts of the body, the brain tends to degenerate when not put through regular mental exercises. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive illness that impedes the brain from functioning as it would, bringing about instances of memory loss.

A January 2012 study published in the Archives of Neurology suggests that exercising your brain through such activities as writing, reading, filling out crossword puzzles, and even handling easy puzzles, instead of tough puzzles, helps ward off the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The study assessed 65 senior citizens with an average age of 76 and found that the subjects who had solved puzzles since childhood showed the lowest levels of the Beta-amyloid protein, a significant marker for Alzheimer’s disease.

If you haven’t yet formed the habit of sitting and putting together a 1000 piece puzzle, you should. Puzzling helps equip you with a number of skills that will come in handy in your day-to-day life. Moreover, these skills can stave off symptoms associated with aging and cognitive decline. Here are a few of those skills.


1. It Develops Hand-Eye Coordination

When solving a big jigsaw puzzle, you rely on your mind’s ability to formulate images and patterns. After looking at a puzzle piece, the brain interprets it and comes up with a hypothetical picture of how the piece would fit into the puzzle. Your hand then immediately moves and places the piece where you projected it would fit.

Because of this, solving easy puzzles will help you develop hand-eye coordination, which will prove quite useful in other walks of life.

2. It Enhances Your Motor Skills

As people grow older, and become more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, they tend to lose their ability to do the things they used to before. This is because the disease eats at your memory, making it unable for you to remember how to do these things. But these diseases, along with the signs of normal aging, can also impede your physical movements. This is one of the reasons why jigsaw puzzles are so important.

Solving easy puzzles increases your mental ability and speed, ultimately impacting how your brain works and how you do certain activities. These puzzles can, therefore, help you gain fine motor skills and may even be an effective therapy for someone who's starting to lose their motor skills.

3. It Enhances Your Logic and Problem-Solving Skills

Many 500 piece puzzles and other easy puzzles require you to employ a certain level of problem-solving and critical thinking. When you’re picking up puzzle pieces and setting them aside because they possibly couldn’t fit in that spot, you’re exercising logic. This makes puzzling an excellent exercise for seniors, as well as for young children.

4. It Enhances Color, Shape, and Pattern Recognition

The left sides and right sides of the brain have different functions. The right side is wired to be intuitive and creative, while the left side works linearly and employs logic.

Solving easy puzzles helps flex both sides of your brain. Because you expose yourself regularly do these different shapes, colors, and patterns, your mind begins to recognize them each time they see them again. This is why puzzling is such a common game in senior homes.

5. It Enhances Memory

Did you ever play a game called "Concentration?" The idea is to turn over two cards in a series at a time, then flip them back over. When you come across a card you’d seen before, you have to try remember where you placed it in the array.

This same memory skill is often tried out when solving jigsaw puzzles. As you pick up puzzle pieces, using some and discarding others, you’re going to reach a point where the piece needed to fill the gap is one you’d tossed aside. Can you recall what piece that was?

This helps seniors exercise their memory. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But regular puzzling helps slow down the progression of the disease or may potentially help to prevent it. If your senior loved one isn’t suffering from the disease, easy puzzles will help them remain healthy, occupied and inspired.