Mar 10, 2011

Springbok Puzzles Cares About Alzheimer’s Patients

Many of the readers of the Alzheimer’s Reading Room are aware of my nonprofit organization, PuzzlesToRemember, but I haven’t provided an update for you for quite a while....
By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room

SPRINBOK 100 PIECE THREE LITTLE ANGELS CHILDREN'S JIGSAW PUZZLEThere are some exciting and wonderful things happening at Puzzles To Remember. For one, by now I have distributed over 6,200 puzzles to over 570 Alzheimer’s facilities across North America.

Word of my organization is spreading far wider than I had ever imagined. Similar programs are being initiated in Australia and Portugal, and I am contacted almost daily by people wanting to donate puzzles or collect puzzles or help in some other way.

There has also been considerable media support, which Bob sometimes shares with you. Just a few days ago, I was asked to speak to a meeting of the Daughters of the American Revolution. They were very interested in PuzzlesToRemember, and they donated 63 puzzles. They also asked me to present to their state wide luncheon at the end of March. They were thrilled to hear about the many veteran’s facilities that have received puzzles.

The biggest news for PuzzlesToRemember, though, is its association with Springbok Puzzles. Springbok was one of the first places I contacted several years ago, when PTR was just an idea. They immediately sent me a generous donation of puzzles to begin my collecting.

When, about a year ago, I again contacted Springbok, I told them that I had, through much research and experience, come to the conclusion that the “best” kind of puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients was just not available in a quality product at an affordable price. I asked if Springbok puzzles could help with this project and produce puzzles specifically for Alzheimer’s patients. The response from Mr. Pack, their CEO, was “We can and we will get this done.”

Springbok invested in new machinery to produce these special puzzles. They included me in every step of the way—in the choosing of piece size, piece counts, overall puzzle size, colors, and images. The result is a line of puzzles that became available in November, 2010. There are 7 different images, each available in 12 or 36 piece count. They can be seen here.

Not only has Springbok produced all these puzzles at their expense, but, in just the last 3 months, they have supplied these puzzles free, including the shipping, to 150 Alzheimer’s facilities for which I provided the address.

The response to these puzzles has been extremely positive. Some patients who had never been able to do any puzzles, have progressed from the 12 piece to the 36 piece puzzles as their confidence has grown. Other patients have begged to keep the puzzles assembled because the finished product gave them so much joy.

Facilities that got 1 or 2 puzzles to begin with have decided to order the entire series. Just as they were meant to do, these puzzles have served at a catalyst for discussions that bring back pleasant memories to Alzheimer’s patients. I couldn’t be more pleased.

And what about Mr. Pack? He is a man of kindness and honor. Instead of expecting thanks, he gives thanks:

You have provided all of us with an opportunity to do something truly rewarding.

I can’t remember anything we’ve done that was this rewarding.

Thanks again for providing an opportunity to address a real human need.

Anyone would expect that what Springbok has done would be sufficient, but is Springbok finished? No.

I recently learned that Springbok will be producing three new images of the 36 piece puzzles to be available in April. I know that Alzheimer’s patients will love these images. Here is an example to the left.

So does Springbok stop there? No. This week Mr. Pack is making financial donations to two organizations whose goals are to help Alzheimer’s patients and find cures and treatments for Alzheimer’s. He is donating to both the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center and to the Alzheimer’s Association.

There are organizations out there that truly have heart, and Springbok is a shining example.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. 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.

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Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room