While some might say that completing a jigsaw puzzle is pointless, these people are clearly missing one (or many!) pieces of the puzzle. Not only is a puzzle a great way to relax, unwind, and unplug, but also it’s a fun activity for people of all ages. Puzzles of varying degrees of difficulty are available, and you can undoubtedly find a puzzle that matches your skill level, interests, and aesthetic preferences. Plus, you can complete a puzzle at your own pace – simply set the puzzle aside until you’re ready to return to it. If you’re still doubtful, scroll down to explore some of the surprising benefits of jigsaw puzzles.
Surprising Benefits of Jigsaw Puzzles
If you want to give your brain a workout, a puzzle is just the ticket. Jigsaw puzzles require concentration, a skill that many seniors use less often in retirement. You must focus and pay attention to small details in order to finish successfully. In addition, it fosters short-term memory, as you must remember details like colors, shapes, and patterns in order to make progress. Puzzles may also improve your problem-solving skills, as you’ll need to try different approaches, test hypotheses, conduct some trial and error, and change your plans when things don’t work out. Plus, puzzles can improve visual-spatial reasoning, which is the ability to tell where objects are in space. It’s a useful skill when reading maps, driving, packing, and more. These benefits are nothing to scoff at! Especially for seniors, solving puzzles “can play an important role in maintaining overall brain health,” according to Dr. Julie Brody-Magid, clinical director of the Memory Disorders Assessment Clinic at McLean Hospital, which is affiliated with Harvard University.
Completing a jigsaw puzzle is often thought of as a solitary activity, but it’s also a great way to connect with others. Anyone can do it, no matter what their age. And when you work on a puzzle with another person, you’re practicing collaboration and teamwork. Your joy at finishing the puzzle may be amplified because you can share that joy with someone else. But as they say, it’s about the journey, not the destination. So although finishing the puzzle may feel fantastic, remember that the most rewarding aspect will likely be chatting with your friend (or friends) as you work through the puzzle.
A Mood Boost
Perhaps it’s not a surprise that working through a jigsaw puzzle can be calming and help you relieve your stress, but did you know that it also releases little bursts of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood) in the brain? Each time that you successfully interlock two puzzle pieces, you will enjoy a “small win” that gives you a tiny morale boost. And obviously, when you complete the entire puzzle, you’ll experience a great feeling of accomplishment and a sense of satisfaction. Because you have to actively work to solve the problem, you’re forced to push other thoughts and distractions to the side. So if something’s troubling you, consider working on a puzzle to improve your mood.
What sorts of jigsaw puzzles do you like best? Enormous, agonizing puzzles that take weeks to complete? Or simple, satisfying puzzles that can be finished in an afternoon? Whichever you prefer, we hope that you enjoy the many benefits of jigsaw puzzles.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living in Collierville and Bartlett. Our warm and inviting communities make it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. We would be happy to schedule a tour for you so that you can explore the community, speak with the Community Director, meet some of the residents, and ask any questions you might have. To learn more about our amenities and services, please call 901-266-3329 (Bartlett) or 901-854-6590 (Collierville). We look forward to meeting you!