5 Ideal Puzzles for Your Older Loved One Who’s Had a Stroke

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According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), stroke recovery usually progresses fairly rapidly within the first month, but it tends to slow down after 3–6 months. However, there are ways elderly stroke survivors can continue to regain lost abilities during all stages of recovery. One great way to rebuild skills involves puzzles. Here are five types of puzzles that can be beneficial for older stroke survivors.

1. Crossword Puzzles

Traditional crosswords can help elderly stroke survivors stimulate the parts of the brain responsible for recall and recognition, including the language-dominant hemisphere (left frontal lobes). If your senior loved one has some initial difficulty doing a crossword puzzle, consider:

• Giving hints but not providing answers right away so your loved one can feel a sense of accomplishment
• Using a crossword puzzle book so your loved one can choose puzzles he or she is comfortable solving
• Doing a challenging crossword puzzle a little bit at a time to reduce frustration

Another great way elderly stroke survivors can use crossword puzzles is to access them directly online. Some sites even offer free access. Online crossword sites provide a wide selection of puzzles, and many also have settings that allow the keyboard to appear directly on the screen, which can be especially convenient for seniors who have lingering issues with finger movements. Crossword puzzle apps are also available for both Apple and Android devices.

2. Word Searches

If crosswords are a bit too demanding for an elderly stroke survivor, word searches can also help with recall and word-recognition skills. Additionally, searching for words in a puzzle format helps stroke survivors enhance areas of the brain responsible for perceptual skills and attention.

Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Fort Myers live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.

3. Jigsaw Puzzles

Not all puzzles that benefit elderly stroke survivors are entirely dependent on cognitive skills. Jigsaw puzzles increase concentration and visual perception, but motor skills are also enhanced, since picking up and placing puzzle pieces in the right spaces involves exercising the abilities to grab, grasp, and release objects. There are also jigsaw puzzles specifically made for stroke survivors, such as the 12-piece sets made by MindStart that were developed by occupational therapists.

A professional caregiver can be a wonderful puzzle-solving companion for a senior recovering from a stroke. If your elderly loved one needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of Fort Myers homecare services. Our caregivers provide transportation to and from medical appointments and social events, nutritious meal preparation, assistance with daily exercise, and help with everyday tasks like bathing, grooming, and light housekeeping.

4. Sudoku

Stroke recovery doesn’t mean handling your loved one with kid gloves when it comes to how you challenge his or her brain. In fact, doing a challenging number-based sudoku puzzle stimulates the brain by helping with the reformation of more complex nerve connections.

5. Pattern Puzzles

Dexterity, reasoning, logical thinking skills, and visual perception skills can be enhanced with pattern puzzles, which are so named because the object is to put the pieces together to form a specific pattern. The patterns can be images, photos, drawings, numbers, or color combinations. There’s also a lot of variation in how these puzzles can be used. Options include:

• Blocks with patterns that fit together
• Pattern puzzles on tablet computers or laptops
• Math-based pattern puzzles 

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care. Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at 239.449.4701.