Addressing Alzheimer’s Disease with Learning and Jigsaw Puzzles


July 3, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Senior Health Issues


Senior Graduating, learning and Alzheimer's

While we are learning more all the time about the overall causes of Alzheimer’s, the truth of the matter is that the condition is not yet fully understood. The good news is that researchers are gaining ground every day. Many studies suggest that diet and exercise, as well as stimulating mental activity may serve as preventive measures, but there is still much work to be done to fully understand the scope of Alzheimer’s.

According to some professionals in Alzheimer’s research, mental decline as a factor of aging is due to the loss of, or altered connections between brain cells. This eventually leads to nerve cell death and even the loss of significant brain matter. A substance called Amyloid plaque forms and takes over otherwise healthy brain tissue. Over time the brain even shrinks and its ability to retain events and memories along with its cognitive function disintegrate.

As mentioned above, recent studies are showing that potentially, a lack of continued development of knowledge, education and apathy towards ongoing learning may contribute to memory loss and memory related diseases such as Alzheimer’s later in life. Those who have made academic studies and lifelong learning a pursuit, seem to show significantly less incidents of memory related diseases. Studies are also indicating that many of the effects of these memory related diseases may be mitigated by simply becoming interested in something and continue to learn as we grow old.

We are told to develop an attitude that embraces and enjoys lifelong learning and engages in brain activity if we are to grow old gracefully and help to curtain or even possibly reverse the terrible condition of Alzheimer’s and memory loss. Yes, that old adage “use it or lose it” seems to apply to our brains as well.

Some suggestions to promote learning as a pathway for a healthy brain include but are not limited to: reading, writing, working crossword or jigsaw puzzles, staying curious and involved in life, taking courses at a local adult education center, taking internet based and computer based learning, watching educational television, enrolling in community college, joining a local community group, playing board games, gardening, and engaging in special memory exercises on websites like lumosity.com.

We have become aware of a rather remarkable gentleman named Max Wallack. According to his website Max’s great grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. This must have developed his interest in the pursuit of a way to help others with the disease. Max graduated from Boston University and now works as a Research Intern in the Molecular Psychiatry and Aging Laboratory in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine.

One day, Max happened to notice the calming effect and other positive benefits of jigsaw puzzle work for those suffering from Alzheimer’s. So he took it one step further with an idea that turned into a project that makes a difference in people’s lives. As if his work and scholastic schedule was not enough, in 2008, Max founded a nonprofit organization and website called “Puzzles to Remember.” You can find the project on the internet at the web address: http://www.puzzlestoremember.org/. This 501(c) 3 organization provides puzzles to nursing homes, veteran’s facilities, and other small and large senior and care facilities that work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

If you have puzzles that you would like to donate to Max’s nonprofit, please contact then through their website. They we will find a location near you that you can bring your puzzles to help make a difference along with Max. The organization can even provide a donation letter so those donating can claim the value of their puzzles as a tax deduction.

If you represent a large or small facility that needs jigsaw puzzles for your residents, then contact this organization for assistance in obtaining these important, potentially life-changing tools for your residents.

The world is full of interesting and fascinating topics and areas of studies to embrace. We are inquisitive and intellectual creatures by nature living in a world of limitless possibilities. One day, our brains may just thank us for remaining interested, asking questions and investigating the vast realms of the prospects of life.

Disclaimer: The suggestions above are only to be considered as general health concepts and are not to be considered as medical advice or a replacement for the advice of a personal physician. Before starting any program where a change in diet and exercise is undertaken, always consult with a physician first. Every individual and condition is different and specific medical conditions may prevent some individuals from embracing some of the practices detailed above. Senior Home Locators and its owners are not responsible for the accuracy of the content or the results of any use of the information contained in this posting.