St Albans mathematician has created free mind puzzles to help people prevent dementia

Gareth Rowlands with his website

Gareth Rowlands with his website - Credit: Archant

A local mathematician has created a series of dementia prevention puzzles, available for free.

Gareth Rowlands with a selection of his Maths text books which are used around the world

Gareth Rowlands with a selection of his Maths text books which are used around the world - Credit: Archant

Gareth Rowlands, of Highfield Park, experienced the misery of dementia helping his wife run a Barnet care home alongside holding down a maths lecturer job at a college nearby.

The 65-year-old also watched his brother-in-law, an atomic physicist running a power station, deteriorate with the degenerative disease.

By merging his skillsets, Gareth has created simple words and number problems to stimulate the brain - staving off the onset of dementia.

For example, an exercise might involve finding words within words, writing words with the non-dominant hand, or separating out odd and even numbers.

Gareth Rowlands with a selection of his Maths text books which are used around the world

Gareth Rowlands with a selection of his Maths text books which are used around the world - Credit: Archant


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Just ten minutes a day spent completing the exercises will make the brain brighter, more organised, and happier, Gareth said.

He has presented the mental training at workshops and talks around Hertfordshire.

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Gareth said: “I have what is called a personal crusade that I have taken upon myself because I have seen people suffering from Alzheimer’s and worked with them, helped them, looked after them in a care home.

“It’s a terrible thing to see people forgetting not just small things, but as it gets worse they forget everything and everybody and they can’t remember anything.”

Gareth Rowlands with a selection of his Maths text books which are used around the world

Gareth Rowlands with a selection of his Maths text books which are used around the world - Credit: Archant

The exercises can be done alone, in a group, or with a carer. They are intended to be preventative, but could also be beneficial for someone with dementia in its early stages.

Alzheimer’s Society funded research, undertaken by King’s College London, found that completing mental challenges can help people over 60 with their daily activities over six months.

Gareth recently met with St Albans MP Anne Main, who threw her support behind his idea: “‘This is an excellent idea and it’s great that Gareth wants to share this initiative to help more and more people dealing with this dreadful illness.

“These exercises for the mind will help to take the fight to dementia and I commend Gareth for his hard work and dedication on this campaign.’

Access Gareth’s exercises at www.battledementia.co.uk/puzzles.pdf

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