AP NEWS

Orem business gathers games, puzzles for seniors

December 24, 2017

Christmas Day is tomorrow, and many families relax while assembling a puzzle. But what becomes of the puzzle afterwards?

Instead of chucking, recycling or donating them to the nearest thrift store, those puzzles — especially the ones catered to younger audiences — can find new life with a completely new audience.

Lynne Anne Longhurst cares for her father in his home in Pleasant Grove. Intermingled with medications, mealtimes, doctor appointments and daily care, Longhurst regularly takes time to put together a simple puzzle with her father. Yes, it’s a way to pass the time, but it also contributes to his well-being.

“I know that puzzles — particularly in people with memory problems — are good for their brains. This has been my experience,” Longhurst said.

One senior care business has been collecting puzzles and easy board or card games this Christmas season for patients like Longhurst’s father. Lana Wilson, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in Orem, said the goal of their somewhat unique service project is to enhance the lives of the seniors in their care and in the aging community.

“Engaging them is a big part of that. A lot of seniors withdraw, but games help seniors stay active and engaged. And studies show that games and puzzles help with memory loss. Games are a good way to keep your brain working,” Wilson said.

So far, Wilson and her staff have collected board games like checkers, and card games, like Uno and Phase 10. They also look for puzzles that have only 100 to 300 pieces. Wilson said for seniors with memory care problems, games targeted to ages 13 and under work best. Complicated games, with multiple rules, can be frustrating.

“We want it to be something that is enjoyable for them that doesn’t cause anxiety or stress,” Wilson said.

The Home Instead team gifted some of their games and puzzles to clients and assisted living centers in Utah County. Other items they reserved to keep at the main office in Orem as an activity library. This way, their staff and partners can check out games to use while working with a client.

Wilson said they would love new or used games or puzzles from willing community members. Those can be dropped off at 499 S. Orem Boulevard, Orem. Additionally, Wilson said they’d love to share their activities with seniors in need. To inquire about available games, call (801) 899-4183.