Aside from investing in a medical alert system from Bay Alarm, which puts your elderly relative in contact with help at the push of a button, you should be looking for ways to improve your loved one's memory, skills and reflexes. Like a medical alarm, stimulating activities can protect your relative from age-related ailments by improving his or her mental state. One of the best ways to get your loved one thinking? Crossword puzzles! Here are a few tips to help you and your relative figure out those pesky puzzles.
Find the right puzzles
It's important to find puzzles that are at the right difficulty level, otherwise your loved one will only get frustrated when he or she can't come up with the right answers. Most puzzles will advertise a level, while some newspapers (like The New York Times) print different levels for each day of the week. Start out at beginner levels, then help your relative work his or her way up.
Start with what you know
When your loved one begins a crossword, it's best to fill in the answers he or she knows first. This will get the individual into a good mindset, and it will help provide letters for the more difficult clues, narrowing down the possibilities.
Come back to it if necessary
Crossword puzzles are meant to be fun, so if you notice your loved one stressing out about completing a particular grid, suggest taking a break. Going for a walk, eating a meal or engaging in another activity can clear your relative's mind. Once he or she is ready to start the puzzle again, the answers might be easier to find.
Get familiar with the clues
The people who write crossword puzzles are fond of using the same types of clues, so it helps to get to know their usual methods. For example, if a clue has an abbreviation, the answer will likely be an abbreviation. If the clue has a foreign word in it, the word you're looking for is probably from the same language. There are many others that you can read up on online.
Don't get too comfortable with your answers
You or your loved one may think that you've come up with the right answers, but if the puzzle simply isn't working out, you might have to go back and check what you wrote in the squares. For this reason, it's a good idea to use a pencil when figuring out crosswords.