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SENIOR SMART PUZZLES Brain Booster for Super Seniors
Do you work those puzzles and brain exercises in the newspaper each day? Millions of people do. Visual games and pencil puzzles are a great way to keep the mind sharp.

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.

Professional caregivers are using Senior Smart Puzzles for a dual purpose. The puzzles give a workout for the brain. The pictures are a trigger for the memory. Reminiscing encourages conversation and communication in group settings and one-on-one situations. Senior Smart Puzzles is reproducible for use by professional caregivers.

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, WWII 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 have 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, recently completed Senior Smart Puzzles Book 2. It follows the same format as the first book. They have added a couple new types of puzzles including finding items beginning with a certain letter, finding the matching pair, and others. The illustrations are mostly from the 1950’s. McClean and Cloutier are both thrilled to see so many “Super Seniors” enjoying their activity books.

Visit McClean’s website, www.seniorsmartpuzzles.com to view sample puzzles, read reviews, and obtain statistical information. There are some free puzzles in a PDF format that are available for public use and publication. A discount price is offered for wholesale accounts.

Senior Smart Puzzles can be ordered online at www.seniorsmartpuzzles.com or Amazon.com. $10.99. Phone orders may be placed with BookSurge Publishing, 866-308-6235 (option 6).

 
Staying Sharp

"Senior Smart Puzzles"

By Lindy McClean,
Illustrated by James Coultier
(BookSurge Publishing, $10.99)
Available through
Amazon. com

"Senior Smart Puzzles is the kind of book that benefits the aging brain. It has triggered memories and initiated conversations between caregivers and people with memory impairment." - Veronica Spalding, activities director at the Curry Good Samaritan Center Brookings, Oregon


A 48-page paperback workbook, featuring vintage illustrations, offers brainteasers, or “strengtheners,” which include mazes, hidden objects in pictures, and same/different puzzles, where the participant searches for differences between pictures, as well as matching like items. (Solutions are in the back of the book.) Simple to solve, but designed for the Super Seniors!


Story by Sharon Letts / The Times-Standard Article

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