Thera-Puzzle, the Original "Age Appropriate" Therapeutic Jigsaw Puzzles

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Thera-Puzzle is a manufacturer of age appropriate therapeutic jigsaw puzzles featuring adult oriented themes with bright vivid colors and contrast on oversize, extra thick pieces. Our puzzles are used by therapist in the treatment of Alzheimer's and other forms of Dementia, Parkinson's Disease, MR, and similar disorders. They make a great activity requiring varying degrees of hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, reasoning, logic, color recognition, memory, concentration, problem solving skills, and overall cognitive ability.

In September 2000 I was an aspiring photographer and had just opened a small studio in southern Indiana. Shortly after opening the studio, I started dating Lois, the woman of my dreams. We soon fell in love and were married.

Lois, a Physical Therapist Assistant was previously employed by a long-term care facility in Louisville, Kentucky. Many of the residents suffered from varying forms and degrees of dementia. The rehab department often used jigsaw puzzles as both a recreational activity and a form of therapy. The puzzles used at the facility were all "children’s" puzzles and usually had cartoon characters as the subject matter. The pieces were also very thin and difficult for many of the residents to handle. Lois felt that these "children’s" puzzles were inappropriate for the age group that she was working with and that they were insulting and embarrassing to her patients.    

It was sometime in early 2002 that Lois mentioned the idea of "Age Appropriate" jigsaw puzzles to me. She believed that there was a sincere need within the rehab industry for such a product and suggested that we develop it ourselves. We could combine my knowledge of photography with her knowledge of rehab and therapy to come up with a line of puzzles that would be aimed specifically toward the adult population.

Lois and I identified key features that we thought would be most important to patients, therapist, activity directors, and caregivers in general. We wanted our puzzles to address the issues of dignity and respect, be useful in therapeutic treatment, and be an enjoyable activity. We also wanted our puzzles to have extra large pieces, be extra thick, lightweight, easy to handle, and durable. We knew that the puzzles would be subject to abuses such as being chewed on and drooled upon, which also meant that the puzzles should be water resistant and non-toxic. We decided that the scenes should have bright vivid colors and high contrast, making them more usable in the treatment of individuals with poor vision, and conditions such as Macular Degeneration.

By mid 2002 we had developed our first prototypes, applied for a Trademark, copyrighted our images, refined the manufacturing process, launched our web-site, and initiated a direct mail campaign.

In the spring of 2003 we exhibited at the KSHA conference in Louisville KY, and at the AOTA annual conference in Minneapolis, MN. The response at both shows was overwhelming, even better than we had hoped for.

Today, Thera-Puzzle is slowly becoming a recognized name among therapy and recreation professionals. Our puzzles are currently in use from coast to coast by all types of therapy professionals and individuals; in care facilities, hospitals, schools, and private homes. We currently have seven scenes available and will be adding new scenes in the very near future. Our puzzles are available in a small 4 piece version that measures 8"x10", or our standard size 11"x17" which is available in 6, 12, or 24 pieces, all measure ½" thick.

On a more personal level, Thera-Puzzle is more to me than just a business. Several years ago we lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s disease. From the time she was diagnosed until the time of her death, she went from being one of the strongest, most intelligent, self-sufficient women that I had ever known, to being dependant upon others for her every need. It was very painful and difficult to watch her mind slowly deteriorate. Her passion had been quilting, she absolutely loved it, and when the disease prevented her from quilting there was nothing to take its place.

It is our most sincere hope that Thera-Puzzle will help in filling a void, that our puzzles might help those suffering from various forms and levels of dementia and similar disorders. We hope that our puzzles will provide hours of mental stimulation, activity, and therapy, allow even the most challenged individuals to feel a strong sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, and above everything else, allow them to maintain their sense of dignity and self respect.

For more information contact:


P.O. Box 26, Georgetown, IN 47122 -- Phone: 502-594-1876

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Joe Keithley
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