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Care Home’s Residents Are Definitely Not Clue-Less When It Comes To Their Daily Puzzles

At Friend of the Elderly’s Colchester-based residential care home, New Copford Place, residents have been celebrating this year’s National Puzzle Day by talking about, and engaging with, their favourite traditional and application puzzles. Whether it’s number puzzles, word searches, Scrabble, matching and memory puzzles or giant classic Jigsaws, residents enjoy a range of daily brain teasers.

Puzzles are part of New Copford Place’s wide and varied daily activities. “We tailor all our activities to meet each individual’s likes, preferences, hobbies and interests, and puzzles are a firm favourite,” said Daniel Sabau, the Registered Manager at New Copford Place. “Our residents thoroughly enjoy all types of puzzles; whether they are played in groups, individually, on our large, electronic interactive ‘Tiny Tablet’ or sat comfortably around a table, there’s always some puzzling puzzle mystery taking place.”

New Copford Place’s interactive activity ‘Tiny Tablet’ enables residents to enjoy, experience and benefit from a wide catalogue of engaging applications. It is a large, easy to use device with a touchscreen, not too dissimilar to an iPad or smart phone, but on a much larger scale. The ‘Tiny Tablet’ is fully mobile and accessible and can be moved to a standing, upright position or turned flat, into a table top style.

“For National Puzzle Day, we thought it would be fun to find out our residents’ top three, all time, favourite puzzles,” added Chelsey Leather, New Copford Place’s Activities Coordinator. “ After having a chat, the residents decided that they had more than a top three. Their favourites – in no particular order – are Word Searches, Scrabble, Number Puzzles, Matching Puzzles and Memory Puzzles,” Chelsey continued.

“When it comes to a classic, traditional jigsaw, some of our residents enjoy doing the Relish Jigsaws which have been created for those living with dementia. They are designed to stimulate minds and evoke happy memories which are inspired by real experiences and are full of vibrant colours.

“Also, a couple of our residents really enjoy tackling more challenging jigsaws. I’m so impressed with how brilliantly they complete them; I certainly couldn’t do as well as they do,” added Chelsey.

“Puzzles are a very good pastime for our residents as they can improve mental speed and thought processes – and they are also a positive activity for improving short-term memory. They can, of course be an individual activity, but they are also a great group activity which creates opportunities for engaging with others, chatting and conversations and making friends,” Daniel continued.

Other benefits of puzzles include helping relaxation as, by immersing yourself in a puzzle, it can serve as an exercise in mindfulness and help to relieve stress. For the elderly in particular, the act of picking up puzzle pieces, turning them over and fitting them together can, sometimes, but quite a challenge. However, puzzles are a great way to exercise the small muscles in fingers and eyes.

“One of our residents told me that jigsaws can be traced back to the 18th Century when European map makers put their maps on to wood and cut them into small pieces. They did this to create learning tools to teach geography – so really, interactive puzzles have been around for quite a few hundred years,” Daniel continued. “I really do learn something new from our residents every day.”

“Our interactive Tiny Tablet is another example of our commitment to provide exceptional standards of quality care through person-centred care, as all our residents can join in and take part in the group activities or use it on their own. It’s up to them – they can do what they want to do, when they want to do it,” Chelsey concluded.

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