Apr 19, 2010

Special Puzzles For Alzheimer's Patients

By Max Wallack
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

At Puzzles to Remember, I have been collecting puzzles for Alzheimer’s Patients for almost 2 years. I receive puzzles ranging from 4 pieces to 8000 pieces! About half of them are new, and the other half are gently used. I realize the needs of Alzheimer’s patients vary widely, and most puzzles will be able to find a home in an Alzheimer's care facility where they can provide a lot of calmness as well as brain stimulation.

Puzzles that are just right for Alzheimer's patients in advance stages of the disease are difficult, mostly impossible to obtain. They don't exist. For some time now, I have been think about this and trying to identify a solution to this problem.

I have given much thought about what would be the best type of puzzle. I also got input from Bob DeMarco of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and Carole Larkin of Third Age Services. It started becoming clear that what was most needed were puzzles having from about 6 tp 60 pieces. The pieces should be colorful, large and easy to handle. Serene themes that provoke memory would be ideal.

Over the past two years, I have corresponded with many puzzle manufacturers. Most have been kind and generous. One in particular, seemed to really understand my efforts. That was Springbok puzzles in Missouri. About two months ago, I decided to contact Springbok about the possibility of their producing this kind of puzzle specifically for Alzheimer’s patients. I was happy to hear (and learn) that they were interested in participating directly in the Puzzles to Remember effort.

Earlier today I heard from Springbok puzzles, they are now determining which puzzles dies are necessary to make the kinds of puzzles that are needed. They intend to produce puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

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Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room