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Life Care Center of Boise, Idaho, was recently a home-away-from-home for a local puzzle enthusiast who had had a stroke.


Harold Holtman came to the facility on Dec. 21, 2016, for rehabilitation for his dysphagia (difficulty swallowing) and slurred speech due to the stroke. He needed assistance to get in and out of bed, as well as supervision to walk in a walker.


Speech therapists worked with Holtman to help him swallow and speak clearly again, while physical and occupational therapists helped him regain his strength and self-care skills.


“Harold thrived at Life Care Center of Boise, and his signature activity was building 3D puzzles,” said Rachel Gibney, clinical liaison. “He did approximately 20 of them, and they ranged from the Eiffel Tower to a dolphin and the Statue of Liberty. He also did 30-40 flat puzzles that he hung on his walls.”


While the facility provided some of the puzzles, some of them came from Jessica Robertson, a housekeeper, who had gone to a youth ranch to pick some up for Holtman. Various other associates went and bought him puzzles with their own funds, and Holtman’s sister-in-law also took him out to shop for puzzles.


Holtman enjoyed having people come to his room and look at his creations. He greeted many associates with a smile and warm welcome.


When Holtman went home to his assisted living facility on July 27, he gave some of his puzzles to the associates and other residents. He still comes to visit from time to time.