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Benefits of Puzzles for Seniors

Discover the mind-boggling benefits of solving different types of puzzles.

One of the health benefits of puzzles for seniors is improved memory.Whether your pleasure is traditional jigsaw puzzles or other puzzle-style brainteasers like Sudoku, crosswords, and word searches, there are many benefits of puzzles for seniors. Since today (January 29) is National Puzzle Day, let’s dive into why puzzling is a hobby that can be good for your body and mind.

Here are some of the top benefits of puzzles for seniors:

  1. Improves memory
  2. Enhances problem-solving skills
  3. Boosts your mood
  4. Encourages attention to detail
  5. Offers fun social collaboration

Keep reading to learn about these possible benefits of puzzles for seniors below.

Improves memory
A study found that adults aged 50+ who regularly challenge themselves to word or number puzzles had sharper brain function of someone ten years younger. These mind sharpening benefits included improved memory and other cognitive abilities. Jigsaw puzzling has similar effects and is particularly helpful for short-term memory, due to the focus on remembering shapes and colors.

Enhances problem-solving skills
At their core, every type of puzzle is about solving a problem. Jigsaws are about figuring out which pieces fit together. Sudoku uses logic to calculate where various numbers belong. Crosswords dive deep into your brain to find answers that are right on the tip of your tongue. When one approach doesn’t work, you learn to pivot and use trial and error for different strategies. In this way puzzles can help enhance your problem-solving skills, making it easier to shift perspectives and find adaptable solutions to challenges in everyday life.

Boosts your mood
Puzzling benefits extend to your mood, too. The little rewards of solving a new piece of the puzzle release dopamine, one of the brain’s happiness chemicals. Everyone loves the feeling of achieving a breakthrough and succeeding at a challenging task! Sitting down with a puzzle can even be a mood-boosting meditative activity offering quiet time and stress relief. Check out even more relaxation techniques for seniors here.

Encourages attention to detail
Puzzles are all about detail. When you’re putting together an especially tricky part of a jigsaw like a sky or water scene, there are only tiny differences between each piece, so it requires careful study to choose the right ones. With a puzzle like a word search, you need to study many small letters to find words that could be oriented in any direction. These strategies can help hone focus and attention to detail, which can help stave off cognitive decline.

Offers fun social collaboration
This benefit of puzzles for seniors is all about the social perks of spending time with others while puzzling. You could be working on a jigsaw puzzle with friends or sitting with your partner over morning coffee asking one another, “What’s 22 across?” Either way, puzzles offer a fun way to bond with others as you combine your brainpower to complete the challenges.

Learn more about nurturing your relationships with others with these social wellness tips for seniors on our blog.

Since 2020 is just getting started, doing more puzzles could be a great addition to your New Year’s resolution list! For more ideas on fulfillment, health, and fun beyond these benefits of puzzles for seniors, keep browsing our senior living and independence blog.

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