By Max Wallack
Puzzles to Remember
PuzzlesToRemember has, by now, distributed puzzles to over 1500 facilities. These facilities include locations in every state, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, England, and Aruba.
Over 15,600 puzzles have been supplied. More than half of these are new puzzles, while the remaining puzzles are gently used puzzles. The value of these puzzles is estimated at about $140,000.
Puzzles of over 500 pieces are sent to assisted living facilities. Puzzles of 100-500 pieces are sent to Adult Day Care centers and nursing facilities housing patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment.
Puzzles with fewer than 100 pieces are supplied to Alzheimer’s and dementia units. These puzzles are especially helpful because they allow a feeling of accomplishment to patients experiencing few successes. These puzzles have bright, colorful images that appeal to the portion of the brain which is most intact in Alzheimer’s patients.
Here are some of the specialized Springbok PuzzlesToRemember puzzles:
Below are images of Alzheimer’s patients experiencing joy while working on these puzzles. Those who work with Alzheimer’s patients realize that joy is not an emotion experienced frequently enough by this population!
I am contacted by email (PuzzlesToRemember@gmail.com) daily by people around the globe that have puzzles they would like to donate to nursing facilities. I research the facilities in their area and I supply the names and addresses of facilities who house patients with abilities appropriate to the complexity of the puzzles being donated. Many facilities have benefitted from these donations, while the people supplying the puzzles are able to take a tax donation.
My work with and on behalf of Alzheimer’s patients has led to my decision to become a Geriatric Psychiatrist, working with Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. These caregivers are often under a great deal of stress, and often succumb to illness and fatigue. For this reason, I often write for the AlzheimersReadingRoom.com, which is a leading internet site for advice and support for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
I have also been invited to become a member of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and I attended their conference last spring, where I learned a great deal. I am happy to be able to say that there are some wonderful, compassionate, geriatric physicians, and many more in the pipeline. That is very important for our aging population and impending Alzheimer’s epidemic.
I believe that any approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease must be multi-faceted, and research must be a critical part. Toward this end, I am spending 12-20 hours per week doing research at Boston University School of Medicine’s Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Laboratory.
One of my projects concerns the use of various enzymes as biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease, while another project measures the effects of stress on the timing of the onset of symptoms in transgenic mice, bred to have Alzheimer’s disease.
I value every minute of my research work, and I am very fortunate to have some wonderful mentors.
I hope to present my research at Boston University this Fall and at a major conference in the Spring. It is my passion to be able to make a difference in this disease.
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University and a Research Intern in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.