Since 2010 Active Minds have been researching and developing activities to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia. Our mission is and will continue to be, to create positive, mindfully designed, person-centred activity products and games to help people lead active lives.
Our award winning Complete Kit contains a wide range of evidence-based and tested resources specifically designed to engage people with dementia. Supporting all members of the team to deliver spontaneous activity sessions and evidence person centered care.
Active Minds is a company built on years of research and personal experience. A close working relationship with Barchester Healthcare and Kingston University has allowed Active Minds to bring together knowledge, experience and research to create some unique activity products and games designed for people with dementia.
Active Minds continually measures its social impact to establish the benefits our activity products are having on the lives of those living with dementia. We use this data to continue making improvements to our products and development process.See our reports
91% of carers felt products improved well-being
91% of carers felt products reduced frustration
86% would recommend Active Minds products
103,300 people have seen an improvement in their quality of life so far
Read our latest news and updates around the topic of dementia
Everyone needs a refreshing change of scenery sometimes. Days out can have a variety of emotional, mental and physical benefits for those living with dementia. Not only does it improve mood and red...
A routine refers to things that regularly happens, usually on a daily basis. A routine could be comprised of anything you do, from eating breakfast, reading the paper and going for a walk and can b...
Therapeutic activities provide a dynamic way to focus on an individual’s personal interests and memories, and are a great way to help keep someone both mentally and physically active. Choosing ac...
Written by Ryan on Tuesday the 27th of November 2018.
Jigsaw puzzles are a favourite pastime for people both young and old. A fantastic way to pass a few relaxing hours either on your own or with a loved one, away from the distractions of everyday life. However, for people with dementia, jigsaw puzzles, and more specifically dementia jigsaw puzzles, have a huge number of benefits including:
Doing a jigsaw puzzle stimulates both sides of your brain, creating a meditative and therapeutic effect on a person, often referred to as an Alpha state. This mental state encourages a person to relax, unwind and feel calm. For someone with dementia, this can be extremely helpful especially if they experience anxiety or are feeling unsettled.
Much like gentle exercise is good for the body, cognitive games like jigsaws are good for the brain, helping to keep it healthy and can even help slow down the brains decline as dementia progresses. Undertaking a few hours of these types of mentally challenging exercises a week can have an incredible benefit for people with dementia, stimulating and exercising both sides of the brain. The right side, which is responsible for creativity and intuitive thought, and the left side which is logic and order.
Puzzles require you to constantly scan for the correct shaped/coloured piece. This not only improves ones visual perception but will also help to strengthen short-term memory as well.
Whilst jigsaw puzzles can be enjoyed on your own, they are also a great way to help encourage interaction and socialisation, which can often be a struggle for people living with dementia. People can complete the jigsaw together, helping each other find the right pieces, place them in the correct spaces and watch as the picture emerges. Conversation may naturally occur as they enjoy the puzzle or the images on the jigsaws may help to trigger memories and spark dialogue.
Research has shown that when we are engaged in completing a jigsaw puzzle, the dopamine (feel-good chemical) increases in our brain, helping people to feel happy. There is also a great sense of accomplishment, achievement and pride experienced when one finally completes the puzzle.
So, as you can quite clearly see, dementia jigsaw puzzles have clear benefits, but what type of puzzle should you choose for you or your loved one?
There are different types of dementia puzzles that have been created for the different stages of dementia. Overall, the type of jigsaw you choose will be directly related to the number of pieces the jigsaw has. For people with early stage dementia, they may find completing 100 or more pieced puzzles fairly easy. However, as dementia progresses, completing standard jigsaws becomes more difficult, not just due to cognitive decline but also their ability to actually manipulate the pieces.
At Active Minds we have 63, 35, 24 and 13 piece puzzles. As the number of pieces decrease, the size of the pieces gets bigger, making them easier to handle for people with dexterity issues, and the puzzle is simpler to complete.
The images on the jigsaw are also carefully chosen to help evoke memories, which may trigger discussion around those specific memories.
You may also want to consider personalised jigsaws which can display a picture of your choice, perhaps of your family, pets or a significant event in your loved one’s life. This is a powerful for reminiscence as it can stimulate memories and conversation.