Brain Booster for Super Seniors!
By: Lindsay McClean
Do you work those puzzles and brain exercises in the newspaper each day?
Can your parents work those crossword and sudoku puzzles? Maybe not.
Baby Boomers often face a unique challenge of finding appropriate resources for their elderly parents. Various impairments and early stages of dementia limit some seniors from enjoying most of the brain-stimulating activities available for adults. The books of suitable difficulty are usually illustrated for children.
Senior Smart Puzzles is a new activity book designed specifically for “Super Seniors.” It is a collection of easy visual puzzles illustrated with vintage pictures. The book includes same/different, hidden objects and mazes in an easy-to-read format. The illustrations depict scenes of everyday life and famous people from the 1920’s-1950’s. Solutions are given at the end of the book.
The brain needs regular exercise to stay fit and healthy. Visual games and pencil puzzles engage the cognitive processes and involve many areas of the brain. The movement of circling an answer or marking a path through a maze uses the frontal lobe of the brain. The occipital lobe becomes activated when locating and identifying objects on the page. Analyzing and remembering details from one scene to another gets the parietal lobe to work. The brain is complicated, but you only need a simple exercise to give it a boost.
It can be difficult to initiate conversation with some elders. Their immediate world has become very limited. Memories from the past can open doors to communication. Senior Smart Puzzles encourages reminiscing with scenes from the first half of the century. Illustrations include an old school, gas station and cars, an outdoor marble game, WW II military men, a covered bridge, telephone switchboard and many more memory triggers. Remember Babe Ruth, Clark Gable, glass milk bottles and the ringer washer?
Children, grandchildren and great grandchildren can have fun playing these games with seniors of the “greatest generation”. All ages can participate in this entertainment. Baby Boomers will remember Elvis and those saddle shoes they used to wear. Grandpa can tell everyone the make and model of the cars. Maybe he and Grandma can share a few stories about the vehicles they used to drive. You might be inspired to teach the younger family members a few yo-yo tricks. Laughing, talking and sharing together is the best brain booster of all!
As a massage therapist, the author, Lindy McClean, noticed a need among some of her elderly clients. They wanted books with brain-stimulating activities, but were finding the adult puzzles had become too difficult to solve. They didn’t want to buy children’s books. So McClean created Senior Smart Puzzles.
Illustrator James Cloutier has given Senior Smart Puzzles a fun personality. He used realistic drawings, authentic to the time period. Cloutier took a special interest in this project because his father died of Alzheimer’s and his mother lived in an assisted living facility the last year of her life. He said he never knew what to take to his parents when he went to visit them. Cloutier feels that Senior Smart Puzzles fills a void in senior resources.
McClean and Cloutier, both of Oregon, are working on Senior Smart Puzzles Book 2. There are some free puzzles in a PDF format that are available for public use and publication on the website, www.seniorsmartpuzzles.com.