Puzzles To Remember

PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a 501(c)3 organization that provides puzzles to nursing homes, veterans facilities, and other facilities that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients. Puzzles To Remember was founded in 2008 by Max Wallack, who recognized the calming effect of puzzles and many other benefits on people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Max graduated from Boston University, Summa Cum Laude, in 2015, and from Harvard Medical School in 2020.

Beginning in 2020, Hailey Richman is the Executive Director of PuzzlesToRemember. Since 2011, Hailey has been distributing puzzles to nursing facilities around the globe. Hailey also spends time doing the puzzles with nursing home residents. She always brightens their days.  Hailey is also the founder of KidCaregivers.com, where she provides advice for children dealing with dementia in their family members. Hailey has begun a program called PuzzleTime which involves volunteer students going to nursing facilities and doing puzzles with their residents. Max serves as a mentor to the KidCaregivers program.

If you have puzzles that you would like to donate, please contact us at Puzzles2Remember@gmail.com and we will find a location near you where you can bring your puzzles. We can also provide you with a donation letter so that you can claim the value of your puzzles as a tax deduction.

To see a short video from WCVB Ch. 5 "BOSTON STRONG" about Max's efforts on behalf of Alzheimer's patients, click here.

To see a short video about Hailey's Puzzle Time Program, click here.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

How to Solve a Puzzle With a Dementia Patient


by Hailey Richman

 Hi Everyone! I would like to share my way of solving a puzzle with a dementia patient. There are many ways to solve puzzles. I am sharing a way that works well for us. If you have a special way of solving puzzles with your loved one, please share it! It would be nice to hear about different methods of puzzle-solving!

1. Select a puzzle with the correct amount of puzzle pieces for the loved one. I chose a puzzle with 36 pieces. Grandma has moderate dementia. Therefore, she cannot concentrate on puzzles with many pieces. If your loved one has milder dementia he/she can solve puzzles with 100 pieces. And if your loved one is severely impaired than he/she can solve 12 piece puzzles. Show the loved one the cover of the box. Have a conversation about the picture. See if it brings back memories. This puzzle pictured has a lighthouse.

Grandma and her friend "Phil" really liked the image. I asked them what they think of when they see the picture. Phil said it looks like Maine. Grandma said it reminded her of Newfoundland, Canada.

2. Prop the cover of the box up, so the puzzle-solvers can view the image to help guide them with puzzle-solving.
3. Find the 4 corners for the puzzle.
4. Find all the flat edged pieces for the frame of the puzzle. Put them in the middle.
5. Solve the frame of the puzzle.
6. If the loved one needs assistance (grandma needs a little help) hand them a puzzle piece. Give a hint about where it may belong in the puzzle. I pointed to the image and "hinted" where the piece should go. Grandma placed it correctly after I helped her. She felt great!
7. If the loved one has very mild dementia (like Phil) they can find the place for the puzzle piece without help. You can see if the person needs help or can work alone.
8. If possible, have the person work with someone. Phil and grandma enjoyed socializing while solving the puzzle. It helped "break the ice".
9. Celebrate the completion of the puzzle. In addition to stimulating the brain, improving thinking and mood, it creates a social activity for the loved one. The social factor is very important for people with Alzheimer's disease :-)
(We used Springbok Puzzles - https://www.springbok-puzzles.com/)

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PUZZLES TO REMEMBER was founded in 2008 by Max Wallack, in memory of his great-grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, who died of Alzheimer's disease in 2007.
Puzzles To Remember is registered in Massachusetts as a public charity. Contributions are welcome, and are tax deductible under sec. 501(c.)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

For more information, write to us at Puzzles2Remember@gmail.com