If you’re a caregiver for a senior with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, seeing a smile can light up an entire day. Stimulating games and puzzles are proven methods for keeping your loved one engaged and happy. We’ve found that the best puzzles and games for individuals with a dementia diagnosis include those that elicit fond memories, lessen anxiety and promote personal connections. Here are four of our favorites for your consideration: 1. Matching Games Games that involve matching like items can help stimulate memory and encourage interaction with caregivers and others. You can purchase matching games designed specifically for senior adults with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Alternatively, you can make your own game. If you have old family photos around, simply make two copies of each and laminate or mount them on foam board. As your loved one pairs matching photos, she may express thoughts and feelings about the memories that arise, and you may even enjoy some heartfelt laughter together as you recall days past. 2. Odd One Out A game of Odd One Out can serve as a stimulating, interesting activity that can keep seniors entertained and cheerful. To make your game, choose objects that are similar, including coins, pebbles, marbles, hard candies and pieces of jewelry. Add your items to a box, and show your loved one how to play the game by grouping like items together in piles. The effect is much like a three-dimensional puzzle that’s both stimulating and tactile, and the game can be lots of fun for grandparents to play with their grandchildren — taking turns adding like items from the box to each pile. 3. Large-Piece Puzzles Working a puzzle is a great way to keep the brain occupied and sharp, and you have an endless array of choices in this category. Ideally, puzzles should have large pieces that are thick and easy to handle. Puzzles should use brightly colored, clear designs that an individual with impaired vision can match easily. If possible, choose puzzles with themes that can stir memories, such as iconic photographs, famous landmarks and nature scenes. 4. Classic Board Games Games that your loved one recalls playing in the past either as a child or an adult can be stimulating and elicit fond memories. In addition to helping players have fun, board games are excellent ways to help stimulate the brain by improving critical thinking and strategy skills. The top classic board games for senior citizens include Chutes & Ladders, Old Maid, Checkers, Backgammon, Monopoly and Candyland. Stimulating, Specialized Care At Havenwood Heritage Heights, your loved one can enjoy an engaging variety of activities and social programs to make every day joyous and unique. Our Memory Care at Melody Lane offers delicious meals along with a comprehensive array of services in a beautiful, comfortable environment. To schedule a visit, please contact us.