Maybe a useful memory strengthening tool for progressive dementia
|Memory puzzle for granddaughter Annie|
Greetings kids, Jeff here with a simple yet powerful tool for working with folks with dementia. This tool is quite old yet I do not recall it being used this way. It may be called something different for your computer but at its heart, this is a simple tool on the same level as Solitataire and Minesweeper that does ones simple job: it takes an image file and turns it into a jigsaw puzzle for the user to solve. Since it is on the computer you can easily configure how complex or simple it is and of course which image it uses and here lies the neat part for us.
Instead of using scenic views of mountain ranges or flower gardens, you create a folder with pictures of loved ones, family members and any other people in the patients life in it. In addition, you can use free tools to add simple labels to them so each can be labeled with the subjects name and other important data. This then becomes a cross between a puzzle and a something to help cement memories of faces to names in the patients mind but done in a fun and familiar way.
I took mine a step further and set up a directory as I described but added a very simple Python script to read the directory of pictures, randomly select one and present it as a puzzle. Its different every time I run it. This allows it to run well on my tablet that runs Linux as well:
|XJig running on Debian on my Asus tablet|
On Linux this tool is called 'XJig', on Android I found several but one decent-ish one is RealPuzzle, performs the same functions only with adverts. This is why my "real" tablet runs Linux which means no ads amongst other satisfying things.
Its free on every computer system and with just a little help from the caregiver or loved ones:
* The patient exercises his or her mind to the limit they are capable. Not too hard (so no frustration) and not too simple, this can keep the patient challenged. As abilities change over time, the program can adapt to the user. What this means is these pictures can be split in anything from two big pieces to a hundred small ones so the puzzles are just as complex as the player can handle.
* Names, faces, important places can all be cemented into the patients mind as much as is possible, this is good for the patient and the family.
* As new people or things need to be kept alive in the users mind, they can easily be added to the puzzle pictures folder.
Did I mention this costs nothing and works on every platform out there?
Not much more to say on this topic other than, it just works and since it is free, give it a go...and who knows, maybe you won't forget Cousin Its name at the next gathering...
|Just give me a second...I will remember....Cousin Robert?|
Now I am off to play with my Pixel phone, assembling pictures of my dogs for a few hours....