Graying with Grace
Like what you see? Give us a share!
large piece jigsaw puzzles for seniors

The Best Large Piece Jigsaw Puzzles for Seniors for Fun and Stimulation

It is so important that seniors stay active. They need to do regular exercise to keep their body in good condition. They need to make sure they have a fulfilling social life. And, they need to keep their minds active as well. Staying mentally active has a number of mental, emotional and physical benefits. It also improves the overall quality of your life. One way to keep your mind active, regardless of physical or mental limitations, is large piece jigsaw puzzles for seniors. Puzzles encourage creative thinking as well as planning, and they can be a lot of fun as well.

The Benefits of Hobbies

Hobbies are important for everyone. They teach us new skills. And, they make us feel accomplished and productive. When we succeed at something we’ve been working on, the brain gives us a rush of feel-good hormones. These hormones make us feel incredibly happy. Seniors, though, can lose the ability to perform their hobbies due to mental or physical decline. That’s why activities such as puzzling are so important. A hobby such as putting together puzzles can give seniors a chance to learn a new skill. This helps overcome the feeling that life has taken away so many of them. The positive effects of this cannot be underestimated.

Stay Active to Stay Mentally Healthy

Staying mentally active in your senior years has a number of benefits. The Alzheimer’s Association claims that there’s a link between low education levels and a higher risk of Alzheimer’s. This thought suggests that staying mentally active has a protects brain cells. It may even slow the progress of this disease. Although your senior can’t go back and change their interest in school, they can keep their mind active in later years. Puzzles are a great way to do this.

blue puzzle pieces on a table

Your Brain and Puzzles

Doing puzzles has more brain benefits than just holding off disease. They also exercise and improve short-term memory and recall. When working a puzzle, you glance at an image and then scan through other pieces looking for a match. The ability to keep the original image in your mind for a short time is essential in even the simplest of everyday tasks. Anyone who has walked into a room and stood there, trying to remember what they wanted, knows how important short-term memory is.

Puzzles and Thinking Skills

Puzzles require a combination of thinking skills. To finish a puzzle, you must plan and be organized. But, you also need to be creative and imaginative. You use intuition to guess how a piece combines with others to make a picture. But there is also a process in scanning the pile of puzzle pieces. These types of thinking skills are usually described as left brain or right brain thinking. Puzzles require that both sides are used. This whole brain approach is a huge benefit for brain health.

The Physical Benefits of Puzzles

Solving puzzles benefits seniors physically as well as mentally. Picking up pieces and putting them into place encourages precision and hand-eye coordination This helps seniors maintain their fine motor skills. Improving their fine motor skills helps seniors accomplish many everyday activities such as teeth brushing and the ability to grip objects. Without these fine motor skills, seniors would have no chance of maintaining any independence. That’s why constantly improving and exercising these skills is so important.

The Social Benefits of Puzzles

Working puzzles is a social activity. People like to watch. They like to make suggestions and participate. For many seniors, social isolation is a major concern as friends and family become unavailable. Being socially isolated causes depression, low self-esteem, and even ill-health. So, activities that create a chance to be social should be encouraged. Doing a puzzle, and encouraging others to participate, requires communication and teamwork. Social activities are highly beneficial for seniors who have lost a sense of connection and belonging in their lives.

puzzle pieces completed

What are the Best Puzzles for Seniors?

The first thing to think about when choosing a puzzle for seniors is the size of the pieces. Seniors often have trouble with their hands. Arthritis or physical weakness affects their ability to grasp or move small pieces. For this reason, choose puzzles with large pieces. Some of them have pieces as big as your hand. These are very easy to pick up and hold.

The larger size may also help seniors who have vision problems. Not only will the final image be big enough for these seniors to enjoy, but the details of the picture on the individual pieces will be larger as well. This makes them easier to match with surrounding pieces.

What Should the Puzzle be about?

The image on the puzzle is less important than the difficulty of the piece. If your senior wants the challenge of putting together a familiar scene or fantastical image, then of course they can choose a puzzle with those pictures.

However, the point is to have fun. The senior should not become frustrated or discouraged by a difficult puzzle. The real aim is to enjoy the process as well as the joy of finishing it. For this reason, the puzzle needs to be chosen based on individual abilities. For seniors who have memory problems, or cognitive impairment due to dementia or Alzheimer’s, choose a smaller puzzle with less pieces. The most important things to keep in mind when choosing a puzzle are the abilities of your senior. Their individual interests are important too.

Large Piece Jigsaw Puzzles for Seniors with Good Hand Function

Ravensburger makes these large format puzzles in Germany. The final puzzle size is 27" wide and 20" high. The pieces are not overly large, but are bigger than standard puzzles. These puzzles are good for seniors with decent hand dexterity but need the mental challenge and stimulation.

Here are some of my favorites:​

Best Large Print Puzzles for Arthritis and Alzheimer's

These puzzles by Active Minds are designed for seniors with arthritic hands or severe dementia or Alzheimer's. The puzzles have huge pieces with each piece being 2" or 3" wide. I also like these puzzles because the images are not childish. The seniors working these puzzles won't be aware these are special puzzles for their conditions.

Here are my favorites:​

Final Thoughts

Staying mentally active despite physical and mental limitations is a challenge for seniors. But it’s also essential if they want to remain as independent as possible. Plus, it’s a key element of a happy life. Puzzles are a great way to engage the brain. They  also can be completed in groups which encourages social interactions. If puzzles aren't your thing, large print games and even card games are good options too. Coloring is making a comeback for senior adults.  If you or your senior is looking for a hobby or pastime that not only has great benefits, but is also fun and challenging, then puzzles are a good option.

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: