Puzzles are a hobby for older adults to not only enjoy, but also benefit from. Puzzles improve short-term memory, concentration, cognitive functions, analytical skills, social interaction while alleviating stress in seniors. Puzzles come in many levels of difficulty and different designs. They are also categorized based on subject and style, so everyone can choose a puzzle that caters to their interest. Puzzles are also available in retirement communities as part of activities to stimulate the mind. Below are five benefits of playing puzzles for seniors in their 50s.
Improves Short-Term Memory
Solving puzzles induces new connections between brain cells (exercising the area of the brain that stores memories), boosting short-term memory. It helps improve one’s cognitive reserve, slowing down memory loss and plausible dementia. For instance, jigsaw puzzles are especially useful for improving short-term memory, due to the emphasis on remembering colors and shapes. Puzzles also boost your cognitive reserve as strategies to resolve puzzles hone your focus and attention. For example, jigsaws require you to carefully examine each piece while word searches require you to study small letters to find words that fit all orientations.
Puzzles require you to concentrate with the utmost focus, engaging specific parts of the brain. Word searches are particularly beneficial to you as you must focus on finding actual words amongst a bunch of alphabets, boosting your concentration capabilities. Crosswords require you to tap on your ability to recall an item that you previously observed or learned. This helps improve your concentration and also memory, both short and long-term.
Improves Problem Solving Skills
It is vital for you to challenge yourself; brainstorming for solutions while keeping your minds engaged. As life gets tough, enhancing your problem-solving skills will go a long way in overcoming difficulties you may face. Jigsaw puzzles are helpful in improving problem-solving skills as you must visualize the overall picture of the puzzle while finding the right pieces which fit. Furthermore, solving puzzles strengthens the connections within a person’s brain. You will have to tap on the critical thinking and creative, problem-solving portions of your brain. Puzzles also challenge visual-spatial reasoning to make decisions such as if the piece fits correctly.
Puzzles help you take your minds off stressful situations in your lives, akin to an escape from reality. The concentration and focus serve as a form of meditation, offering stress relief. By pushing yourself to resolve the puzzle, your worries are pushed aside, reducing the levels of cortisol in your body. Solving puzzles acts as a morale-booster, with the tiny boost of dopamine (one of the brain’s happiness chemicals) helping significantly. Studies have shown that having a sense of accomplishment is beneficial, improving your overall mental well-being.
Encourages Social Interaction
Puzzles allow you to bond with others while solving them together, giving you an opportunity for greater social interaction. For instance, retirement communities have puzzle clubs where such intellectual games are played in groups. Working with others towards a common goal (solving the puzzle) exudes a sense of satisfaction. Social interaction is vital in keeping you engaged and active.
Purchase puzzle games or simply play them online. If you are residing in a retirement community, enjoy solving puzzles in teams while forging friendships with your team members.