Puzzler's Exchange

A nonprofit organization

Building Quality of Life: Piece by Piece

What People are Saying

"My puzzle tables are exploding! Bring more puzzles!"  T.H.

"The residents are really enjoying the puzzles and are working them constantly! The puzzles are beautiful and continue to be a fantastic addition. The puzzle exchange has been a huge success!"  M.L.

"Our residents just love having new puzzles they haven't seen before (and staff too)! We feel so honored to be a part of such an amazing program that provides so much opportunity for our residents. Thank you!" N.S.


Did you know that your brain loves goal-oriented, diverse, novel and complex-enough activities? These types of activities increase Dopamine (a powerful feel-good hormone). Not only that, when done in social settings, the benefit of these type of activities is even greater because when we feel connected to others Oxytocin (another powerful feel-good hormone) increases. 

Putting together large-piece jigsaw puzzles with others provides an opportunity for those managing complex health conditions, to tap into their own internal feel-good hormones at a time when they are most needed. Each puzzle piece becomes a significant social, goal-oriented, diverse, novel and complex-enough task, as each attempt is made to successfully match a puzzle piece to its rightful place.

After the very first deliveries in September, 2017, Puzzler's Exchange became a Minnesota 501(c)(3) nonprofit in April, 2018.    

In March 2020 Puzzler's Exchange was serving 13 assisted living, 8 memory care, 2 long-term care, 2 transitional care, and 12 independent senior living locations. With the onset of Covid-19, Puzzler's Exchange was placed on hold in the best interest of the vulnerable populations that we serve. 

Puzzle exchanges began again in July of 2021, and as of November 2022, we are serving 15 locations (about 41% of pre-pandemic levels). Given the ongoing participant interest, numerous faithful donors, and dedicated volunteers, we look forward to continued growth of Puzzler's Exchange throughout 2023. 

We currently have high demand for Dementia puzzles that are difficult to come by on the second-hand market. These are very specialized puzzles and range from $20-$30 per puzzle (new). 

Donate Today!!!

 Find additional updates and Annual Reports on our facebook page (link below).

Like us on FaceBook at:   https://www.facebook.com/puzzlers.exchange/



The Story 
Puzzler’s Exchange began after one of our founding members experienced a dramatic health crisis from a concussion, PTSD, and tapering off prescription narcotic pain medication after years of chronic pain and insomnia. During the most difficult months everyday physical activities and complex cognitive tasks and conversations were difficult at best, social activities became virtually nonexistent, and the use of her eyes for crocheting and reading was impossible. She lost all sense of taste and smell, and the withdrawal, agitation and concussion all took a toll on her mental health.

Her daughter suggested they try doing a puzzle to find something enjoyable they could do together that would provide a reprieve from the challenges and difficulties. They quickly learned that small puzzle pieces were not going to work. It was then they learned about large-piece puzzles. They spent a small fortune and ended up buying over 50 new puzzles! Not only could her mother do these puzzles, but her agitation calmed tremendously as she focused on the activity, which was available whenever she wanted, 24/7/365, day or night, whether having a good day or bad.

During several stays in the hospital and respite, she took her puzzles with her and would set one puzzle out at a time in a common area. Others would eventually also come around to do the puzzles. Social relationships developed amidst the difficulties she was experiencing. After moving to senior housing, the group that converged to do the large-piece puzzles completed over 80 puzzles in less than four months!

Three years into her extended period of recovery, she has recovered much of her ability to do most of her previous activities. Large-piece puzzles continue to be part of her routine for maintaining her well-being and quality of life.

From these experiences we have realized the need for those living with and managing complex health conditions, to have a continuously updated supply of large-piece jigsaw puzzles from which to choose. The idea of Puzzler's Exchange was born!

Large-piece puzzles provide enough challenge and stimulation without being overwhelming, which is important for building and maintaining resilience in the face of adversity.

Large-piece puzzles are empowering for those who have lost the ability to do so much when facing complex health-related challenges.

Puzzling provides an informal social context that reduces isolation and builds emotional well-being that helps maintain quality of life for those individuals, families and caregivers managing complex health-related concerns.


Organization Data


Organization name

Puzzler's Exchange

Tax id (EIN)



Children & Family Community


5115 Excelsior Blvd, #405
Minneapolis, MN 55416