When was the last time you put together a puzzle?

Many Irvine Cottages residents enjoy it daily!

Benefits of Building Puzzles:
Working on jigsaw puzzles is good for a healthy brain. From stimulating concentration to strengthening short-term memory, the benefits of puzzles combine to help us reduce our risk of dementia.

Including jigsaw puzzles as part of a care routine for someone who has already developed memory loss also has remarkable benefits for the mind and spirit. This enjoyable activity can improve brain function and stir pleasant memories from childhood. Research even shows that, among the benefits of puzzle-building, seniors with Alzheimer’s can decrease their rate of cognitive decline.

Benefits include:

  • Powerful brain workout – Building a puzzle exercises both sides of the brain, creating a stimulating workout. While the left side is busy with logic and order, the right side of the brain focuses on creativity and intuitive thought. Puzzles combine these functions for full-brain involvement.
  • Increased memory and visual perception – When you put together a puzzle, your eyes are constantly scanning for a piece that matches a specific shape or color. This not only improves visual recognition (which often declines with Alzheimer’s), but strengthens your short-term memory as well.
  • Purposeful activities – For people with Alzheimer’, their disease may limit them from doing the kinds of tasks they used to do with ease. A simple project, such as finishing a puzzle, can give them a big boost in pride and sense of purpose.
  • Improved interactions with others – Spending time together with a puzzle creates opportunities for easy conversation, collaboration, shared accomplishments and bonding. For someone with memory loss who is nonverbal, completing a puzzle gives them a unique chance for connection.
  • Therapeutic meditation – Working on a puzzle can benefit those with Alzheimer’s by calming them down if they’re agitated or restless. Puzzles require concentration, which can help relax and alter their mood.
  • Better physical health – Calming activities like jigsaw puzzles can lower the breathing rate, slow the heart rate and reduce blood pressure.
  • Feel-good chemicals – Completing a task, such as finding the missing piece to a puzzle, releases dopamine in the brain. This chemical makes us feel good and we feel the effects of dopamine when we accomplish a goal, complete a project or solve a problem.


November was the time to be thankful, a time to remember and to embrace those who enrich our lives every day. Irvine Cottages celebrated Thanksgiving surrounded by special friends and loved ones.


Halloween Trick or Treaters at Irvine Cottages

Visits to the Pumpkin Patch

Fall is that magical time of year when the leaves begin to change colors and the pumpkins are ready to carve. Pumpkin patches are a true staple and tradition of the season and is treasured by people of all ages.

Irvine Cottages residents celebrated fall by going on outings to the local Pumpkin Patch. This is a yearly tradition at Irvine Cottages and a big resident favorite.

Residents enjoyed deciding which pumpkin to choose to take home; Flat one, tall one, skinny one…bumpy one? Orange, white, green? Thank you to all staff in participated in this fun outing!

4th of July

Being grateful for our nation, what a great sensation!
4th of July celebrations at Irvine Cottages

Irvine Cottages residents and their families celebrated Independence Day and America’s birthday with an All – American backyard BBQ. Residents enjoyed grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, apple pie and lemonade.

Cinco de Mayo

Let’s taco bout how Irvine Cottages shell-ebrated Cinco de Mayo…

Residents celebrated and enjoyed a meal for the mexican holiday, prepared by staff consisting of cheese enchiladahs, mini tacos, salad and flan for dessert.

St. Patrick’s Day

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night. 

Residents celebrated the luck of the Irish while making St. Patrick’s Day crafts.  Shamrocks and Pots of Gold help to festively decorate the cottages.


Artist of the Year, Irvine Cottages

Irvine Cottage’s Artist of the Year: Jean Carter

Ms. Jean Carter is our Irvine Cottages Artist of the Year!  Jean has loved living at Cottage X for over two years and really enjoys the staff and friendships she has made with other residents!

“We are a family. It also helps that we all love the food here!”

Jean has flourished in our art program and enjoyed painting, especially landscapes. She also loves painting outside, it is relaxing she says!


Highlight of the month at the Cottages: Cognitive Games

September 16th was National Play-Doh Day!

Fun With Play-Doh

Play-Doh inventor Joe McVicker actually sold it originally as a wallpaper cleaner but the world had another use for his product. Play-Doh was inducted in to the Toy Hall of fame in 1998.
Resident’s at Irvine Cottages paid tribute to this favorite modeling clay by recently enjoying crafts with Play-doh with Art Co-coordinator Sheila. They enjoyed rolling and cutting out different shapes with fun cutters.

 Some benefits of Play-doh play: 

  • Fine Motor Skill Development. Great for strengthening muscle tone in resident’s hands – squishing, squashing, rolling, flattening play dough all develop muscles and encourage other skills such as cutting with a scissors, using a tweezers, holding a pencil etc.
  • Calming and therapeutic. Simply sitting and squashing and rolling a piece of lay-doh in your hand is a very calming and soothing activity.  Eases tension, releasing energy, improving focus and concentration.
  • Creativity and imagination. The possibilities for Play-doh play are limitless; resident’s love to create all sorts of things with Play-doh – anything from fun shapes, pizzas, gardens, houses, flowers, Christmas decorations.  
  • Develops hand-eye co-ordination. Using a variety of materials and objects in Play-doh play can enhance hand-eye co-ordination.
  • Social skills. Any activity where Residents are hands-on involved creates a fantastic opportunity for maintaining social skills. Playing with play dough in small groups presents lots of possibilities for talk and discussion, playing collaboratively, problem solving and planning with others.  This encourages residents to describe what they are doing while they create.