Too much of something isn’t always a good thing – but sometimes it can be. Residents at Woodstock Terrace discovered just that when they inventoried the many donations of crafting supplies, books, and jigsaw puzzles they’ve collected over the years. Their storage closets were bursting! “This is a generation that doesn’t get rid of anything,” said Briana Maxham, the Terrace’s Life Enrichment Director, “which is how the Puzzle Club got its start.”

A few years ago, two residents who were avid puzzlers decided to start a club to work through the large supply already on hand. They started by counting the pieces of each puzzle and discarding any puzzles missing more than one or two pieces. (Puzzle sizes generally ranged from 100 to 1,000 pieces.) Next, they set up tables in the living room and invited everyone to join in the fun! What they found was that not only were residents working on the puzzles, but their children, grandchildren, visitors, and even staff members were getting involved. People passing through the living room would pull up a chair and sit down to help. As the club evolved, conversations started around the tables and new friendships blossomed. “Some unwitting visitors found themselves ‘stuck’ in the living room, unwilling (and unable) to leave until they could fit their puzzle piece in the right spot. It is very addicting.” says Briana.

Since it got its start, the club has put together over thirty puzzles. When a puzzle is completed and missing parts are crafted, it is glued together, framed, and hung on the wall. That’s when “too much of a good thing” turned into a not-so-good thing. Complaints started that there were too many holes in the walls and simply too many puzzles about, so residents staged their first “Puzzle Art Show” in early November to show off their work. Now that the show is over, there is some talk of auctioning off the art with the proceeds going toward the purchase of… you guessed it… more puzzles!

Over the years, they have seen all types of puzzles from cute animal pictures to landscapes to fine art pieces. They even had a Stave puzzle, handcrafted in Norwich, Vermont, that was kept in a separate room. “Puzzles have been a great way to help with cognitive processing skills for many of our memory impaired residents” said Briana, “not to mention sharpening fine motor skills.” Next year the Terrace is considering a “3-D” puzzle challenge for residents (and friends.) Stop by sometime and join the fun and make a friend or two while you’re at it.