Got to know when to FOLD EM
with wide range of residents.
I was introduced to John (mid 80's) in Assisted Living, his hobby…
working on large puzzles.
He wanted to do all my puzzles and yes, he remembered
Norman Rockwell. He enjoyed
reminiscing while putting the wooden puzzles together.
As I brought out the logic puzzles, his eyes widened, “these
He asked to study the pieces together for a time, before breaking
the puzzle apart.
Starting with the 6 piece, he touched and studied the acrylic
pieces carefully, then took the puzzle apart, putting it together
(I noticed he was timing himself)
His comment, "you have to think a little more with
these, I match the colors on my big puzzles".
Focusing on the 12 piece logic puzzle (same routine), studied
the whole puzzle, then took it apart, and started to put it back
He stumbled a few times, took a moment, was at it again.
John did not want any assistance, determined to succeed,
and he did.
Another gentleman observing and of course, he wanted to do the
12 piece logic puzzle also.
He quickly broke (12 piece) apart and anxiously started to put
the puzzle back together.
He picked up one piece, tried to fit it together with another,
no, that didn’t work, picked up another, no, that
didn’t work either.
Observing closely, I noticed frustration and bewilderment appearing
on his face.
Asking if I could help, “no, I can do it”.
Suddenly, I noticed his hands and fingers making snappy
motions, as if he was touching something hot.
To this point, 3 - 5 minutes, there was not any success
of connecting pieces.
Gently putting my hands over the puzzle pieces, I gathered them
together saying, "I don't like this puzzle, let's
The 6 piece logic puzzle would have been easier for him, and he
could have possibly done it.
Rather than chance it, I decided to change the game to
a 6 piece memory puzzle.
Together we built the puzzle discussing the picture. He relaxed
again, needed a bit of help but he did it.
It is important to, Defuse Frustration
Everyone is different, some things appear simple and easy to one,
but are someone else's nightmare.
If frustration appears, change the game.
PS. I should have insisted starting with the 6 piece, moving up
to the 12 piece. He was insistent, I didn’t, and I regret
Watch carefully for expressions and actions, the object
is to have fun, not frustrate; but we need to challenge
also, on the fringe.
(Logic puzzles are acrylic, one color. One has to match the angles
and curves. More difficult than puzzle with image).
Karen Miller - Memory Jogging Puzzles, All rights reserved
Sometimes we assume those with these conditions
act differently or don’t speak the way they used to
and forget, they have no feelings.
with residents, I have seen feelings, emotions, and laughter
and when it happens, it makes me feel great.
patients become introverted and don’t want to try an
activity because they fear failure. I have noticed they are
cautious when making decisions but many times they are on
the right track and need just a little assurance and patience.
decision that we automatically make is sometimes quite difficult
for the elderly or someone with alzheimers disease, only
because they don’t want to make the wrong decision.
discovered care centers have the same needs for activities
but each center had it’s own level of capabilities.
“Your puzzles do indeed show some promise, due to
the fact that they engage persons with their emotional and
recognition memory, but then rely upon "here and now"
problem-solving skills.” Mitchell Slutzky, Ph.D.,
Clinical Geropsychologist, NY
some people just want to hold the puzzles, study the images
and touch them gently. It’s as if they are seeing
old friends and when there is a group they laugh, talk and
help each other, it is amazing to watch and listen.
Norman Rockwell had Alzheimer’s when was elderly.
I find this very unique that his art is playing a part in
helping those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. ###
Source: Dementia’s disease
facts and figures. alzheimers Association. 2007
disease is a progressive, degenerative disease of the
brain that results in dementia.
and dementia are
often used interchangeably, but there is a distinct
difference between them.
is a broader term than Dementia and refers to any
brain syndrome resulting in problems with memory, orientation,
judgment, executive functioning, and communication.
disease is the most common cause of dementia,
but dementia can also be caused by strokes, Parkinson's
disease, head injury, or a host of other conditions -- very few
of which are reversible.
is often divided into two groups:
Short-term memory refers
to immediate past experiences
deals with things from long
Thinking allows one to keep
track of the immediate future. Short term memory and logical thinking
skills are closely connected.
is the person's situational
awareness. example: name, who are
you, where are you, day, date, season and year.
is the ability to carry out familiar tasks,
such as getting dressed or balancing a checkbook.
Includes the ability to plan projects, formulate goals and objectives,
prioritize, apply self-discipline, and remember steps involved
in complex tasks. ###
©2011 Memory Jogging Puzzles, All rights reserved
©SEPS Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.
All rights reserved
Disease and Dementia are life changing, not only for the patient but for their families.
personally feel it is more difficult observing
the changes in your loved ones personality. Feeling
hopeless, frustrated by not knowing HOW to connect with your mother, father or spouse. Forgive
yourself, we all experience it.
age appropriate puzzles are what you have been looking for, but
you might be asking yourself if your loved one will be able to do the
is important to select the puzzle developed for the stage your loved
one is in.
working with the puzzles with all levels of alzheimers and dementia,
I discovered some had difficulty getting started, but with a little
guidance and then encouragement ALL felt success no matter how many
pieces they were working with... it was as if they remembered what to
say old habits can be remembered and when this happens their movement
is smoother and with more confidence.
the 6 piece is for middle stages; 12 piece early to middle stages; 20
for elderly to early stages.
matter the number of pieces to the puzzle, it is important to sit with
your loved one, observe and help if needed.
Jogging Puzzles and Memory Games were developed for you to interact
with your loved one.
noticed in testing the puzzles many alzheimer and dementia patients
are lacking self confidence. And I understand why, everything is new
all the time. I am a little nervous with new things also, and I keep
that thought when working with them.
beauty of this Memory Puzzle is, IT IS NOT A NEW ACTIVITY but sadly
for some possibly forgotten. BUT EASILY RECALLED with patience and guidance.
Memory Puzzles are a perfect gift if you want to connect with your loved
one and encourage brain exercise and memory exercise.
might ask how the memory puzzles do this?
me one of the most important benefits is they will capture your loved ones attention.
They do this because the themes are age appropriate AND familiar being
from The Saturday Evening Post. If
a activity does not capture their attention, they will not want to do
it. (They are like you and I, visual beings.)
can not find these custom Memory Jogging Puzzles and Memory Improvement Activities in Walmart.###
Games and Training Tips
like most human beings am very good at hiding my thoughts"
Quote from book -
From The Inside Out by
Richard Taylor, PHD
Collection of brain teasers, riddles, puzzles, logic problems
with answers. Test your skills at cracking
continued from MemoryGames page
she came to “In the Garden” she started to reminisce,
remembering when she was a young girl.
Sunday her mother would gather her and her siblings, dress them
all up in pretty dresses and go to church.
they would meet their cousins and everyone sang together.
(This event made a memory implant on Mary and she shared her stories).
was wonderful listening to her and watching her facial expressions,
she was pulled right back there with her mom getting her ready.
was called away from her for a few moments.
I returned, the songbook was on the table and she was again doing
smiled and sat down, she looked up… smiled, then paused,
looking at me she asked, “Do
I know you?”
heart sank, “not really, I’m a new friend” and
we continued to talk. But the rhythm was gone, the feeling in
the air not the same.
didn’t bother her but it had an impact on me.
guess I was the one who was missing the rhythm and feeling in
truly is more difficult to be an observer than the person having
time I visit the center I look for her, she is 94. I love her
smile and energy, even though she never remembers me, we talk
and laugh like old friends. (I think she recognizes my voice).
learned… if you connect with someone with Alzheimer’s
or Dementia, stay in their moment as long as you can. A five-minute
distraction is all it takes for many to lose focus. (Strange,
many of us are the same way, but if we desire we can get back,
you are a loved one, keep a journal of those long forgotten moments
you are hearing about. You are making memories and one day, you
will reflect back and smile. ©2011 karen miller
labeled her: Doesn't speak!
began working with my polish lady over a year ago with my puzzles.
The last several months she joined my art class of drawing and
was told she was Polish and never spoke.
I make sure she sits beside me enabling me to help her understand
what we are doing by showing her if needed.
struggled with my 6 piece puzzle and it is baby steps in this
class. If she stays close to inside the line, she gets encouragement.
I show her how and point it out.
she has a pencil in both hands scribbling away. I gently take
one away, she favors the right hand so we keep that one.
is always cooperative but shows no expression.
couple of months ago, at the end of class she kept pushing her
paper my way and I kept pushing it back telling her to take
it with her. She pushed it back and said "you keep,
for helping me".
I was shocked, thanked her and there were no more words. A couple
more sessions, no words were spoken. (I am with the group about
There is always lots of chatter and laughter around the table,
the ladies are reminiscing when they were young and what they
did. Almost like a bridge game, but the bridge is to
At the end of our last group meeting, someone asked when I was
returning and I told them. As I was gathering my items, my favorite
Polish lady, repeated my sentence about when I was returning.
I couldn't believe it, I smiled and said yes, I will be here
next month and you are talking to me, thank you.
It was GREAT ...made my day and I am anxious for the next time
But then I began wondering... has anyone tried to connect with
her? Does someone who speaks polish come in and visit with her?
Most of the assistants speak spanish and have their schedules.
She has been labeled "doesn't speak"
because she is polish, but she is definitely listening
and capable of speaking if she wants to.
How lonely it must be for her. If anyone speaks another language
and you have time volunteer at a care center.
There may be someone there just waiting to say "hi"
and see your smile. ###
©2011 karen miller
Memory Jogging Puzzles and Memory Cards have themes by Norman
Rockwell – Sarah S. Weber - The Saturday Evening Post
to Karen Miller
on the Coping
with Caregiving radio program, scroll to segment 3. The
host, Jacqueline Marcell, is the author of Elder Rage.
testing the Puzzles (continued
from MemoryGames page)
We continued our way and prepared to work with the groups.
I was shocked to learn my first person was Bob. (gentleman
in the wheel chair).
As I sat down at his table, I aligned two puzzles within his
I didn't talk about the puzzles right away, (the hallway greeting
was fresh in my mind.)
I introduced myself and he told me his name.
I noticed one puzzle had captured his attention as I pointed
out details and we started talk, focusing on the one, while
moving the other away. (removing distraction)
Connecting with him, asked him to point to different items
in the picture and he did, cautiously, not wanting
to make a mistake.
(Men seem more cautious)
Breaking apart the 6 piece puzzle I asked if he would help
me put it back together.
He did, needed some guidance and assurance, but he didn't
mind as I helped guide some pieces in place
There was a smile and chuckle when the puzzle was completed.
And, he wanted to do another
We did several puzzles (6 and 12 piece).
During this time, Bob shared stories of him and his sister
putting large 500 piece puzzles together when they were young.
He recalled he was an engineer at one time.
I was amazed at the transformation, from "no"
at the door, to let's do more.
It was great, one of many positive
...listen, do you hear me?
I’m here, inside me there is a voice, please lean in
and hear me out.
I am frustrated, nothing seems the same, I can’t even
remember your name.
I walk slowly may need a little help, be patient with me or
I might shout.
I’m still in here. I still have feelings, please do
not lock me out.
Take time to show me once again how to do the tasks and games
I once did. ~karen
you a Caregiver?
are you have been one all of your live, but haven’t
used that term to describe yourself.
Recently asked this question, and I started
thinking about the term.
noun care\- gi-ver\
Definition of Caregiver - a
person who provides direct care (as for children, elderly
people, or the chronically ill)
father was my mother’s primary caregiver during
her illness for many years. Not once did I hear him referred to as her caregiver, although
he cared for her 24/7.
loved mom and did everything he could for her, he
felt it was his responsibility and never complained,
he was her husband.
We five children, tried to help in our own little
way but we didn’t consider ourselves caregivers,
she was our mother.
wanted her to get better, be the way she used to be.
this scene for many years left a huge impact on us.
We are compassionate towards others. Always ready
to lend a hand. Always for the underdog. And we pray
it does not happen to us.
All of us have children, several in the medical field
of us have forgotten the struggles my mother had to
bear or my father’s sacrifices in taking care
of her or my little sister’s loss of the mother,
we all knew so well.
Some of your stories are like mine, if you are going
through it now, I understand your sadness when you
walk out the door after visiting your loved one and
I understand your prayers.
I have never been a licensed or paid caregiver, but
a caregiver all of my life.
worked with licensed caregivers and decided it was
not for me.
have volunteered since 2008 in numerous centers and
enjoy it very much.
I have visited those who could not get out of bed
to go to activities; helped with various special activities
and it never fails each time I go to volunteer, I
see someone who reminds me of mom.
I have worked with large groups and small, but what
I like best is working with one person at a time and
observing them closely. This is very gratifying to
me and helps me see things from their eyes.
do lend a helping hand if needed and see the smile
on their face, knowing my time with them has made
this make me a caregiver?
I don’t need to be a licensed caregiver to do
this, I just need to care, be patient and help when
necessary. It is very simple and you can do it too.
Most caregivers who work in centers have too many
patients to care for, not having the time to dedicate
to one person.
Many with certificates, have
never had a loved one, who has had Alzheimer’s,
Dementia or a stroke.
have never been through the emotional roller coaster
that goes along with being a child, mother, father
emotional connection is sometimes missing.
They do their job and it is stressful, but you as
a loved one, can give the emotional connection. When
you do and see the smile or hear the laughter, it
is rewarding. Your loved one may not remember it,
but you will.
you have a loved one in a care center or in your home,
take 10-15 minutes a day if you can and interact with
Don’t just plop down a game or puzzle and walk
away thinking they can do it. It has been awhile,
they may have gotten how to do simple games they once
knew. They may need your assistance.
they cannot complete the task they will feel failure.
to them and listen to their answers and go with the
They are not in our world… we must go
into theirs… someone who cares. ###
~ I just
received your products in the mail yesterday and it
is just what my father needs! Unfortunately he has dementia
and is not doing well.
But I am hoping the games and puzzle will stimulate
You are so right about the images. They are so colorful
and inviting, with a soothing effect. Your products
went well beyond my expectations.
you so much for selling such nice products. My family
and I are extremely grateful for your service. I am
sure my father will love them. ~Kind
things cost in the 1940's:
• Car: $800
• Gasoline: 18 cents per gallon
• House: $6,550
• Bread: 8 cents a loaf
• Milk: 34 cents - gallon
• Postage Stamp: 3 cents
• Average Annual Salary: $1,900
• Minimum Wage: 30 cents per hour
©2011 Memory Jogging Puzzles,
All rights reserved
©SEPS Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis, IN.
All rights reserved