Happy New Year!

Retired woman lifting weights

The Oasis is a great place to begin your new year’s resolution to feel better. Diet, rest, and exercise are keys to better health. Kirby Pines offers many opportunities to improve strength, endurance, balance and cardio-vascular health. We have exercise classes supported by the Arthritis Foundation include Arthritis Exercise (Stand and Sit) on Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 on Channel 10 and Water Aerobics. These classes are tailored to your needs and having arthritis is not a requirement to take a class. Yoga Stretch is on Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:45 on Channel 10 and a resident-led class meets three times a week. (See class schedule in The Pinecone)

If group exercise is not to your preference, the Oasis room at Kirby Pines has an amazing variety of equipment for a small gym to exercise and strengthen upper body, lower body and improve cardiovascular functions. The equipment is disinfected daily and facemasks are required in the gym area. The Oasis is open 7 days a week.

Kirby Pines Gives BIG to Operation Christmas Child

Kirby Pines residents and Retirement Companies of America, LLC have contributed a total of $9,050.00 to Samaritan’s Purse for “Operation Christmas Child.” This money will be used to purchase shoeboxes filled with Christmas gifts which will be distributed to children around the world in over 150 different countries. For many children, this will be the first Christmas gift they have ever received. Samaritan’s Purse is a part of the Rev. Franklin Graham ministry located in Boone, North Carolina. This is the 6th consecutive year that Kirby Pines residents have participated. In October, a challenge was presented to our residents that we raise $8,750 to purchase 350 shoeboxes. Our residents gave so generously that we exceeded our goal by $300. With the amount raised this year, we will be able to purchase a total of 362 shoeboxes. Thank you Kirby Pines Residents and RCA for making this happen!

Don Johnson, Berry Terry and Charlie Trammell proudly display our donation.

Health Benefits of Exercise

Retired woman exercising

Our biology changes as we get older, causing seniors to have different reasons for staying in shape than younger generations. Though physical fitness provides benefits at any age, the health perks physically fit seniors enjoy are more notable. Physicians and researchers say seniors should remain as active as possible, without overexerting one’s self. In older adults, exercise helps you live a longer, healthier, and more joyous life.

More exercise means more independence for seniors:

Seniors that exercise regularly are less likely to depend on others. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise promotes an older adults ability to walk, bathe, cook, eat, dress, and use the restroom. If self-reliance is a priority, exercise is one of the best ways to maintain independence for older adults.

Exercise improves balance for older adults:

Falling down is a much bigger deal for older adults than younger ones. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is admitted to an emergency room for a fall-related injury, and every 19 minutes, a senior dies from a fall, according to the National Council of Aging. Though no two falls are alike, and preventing falls is very complex, regular exercise reduces the likelihood of falling by 23%.

Regular exercise means more energy:

Though it seems counter-intuitive, being inactive makes you tired and being active gives you more energy. Any amount of exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which are essential neurotransmitters linked to pain mitigation and a sense of well-being. Endorphins combat stress hormones, promote healthy sleep, and make you feel more lively and energetic, overall.

Exercise helps prevent and counteract disease:

Heart disease, osteoporosis, depression and diabetes are common diseases among older adults, and are often deadly. Fortunately, adopting a more active lifestyle can contribute to the prevention of these diseases, or reduce the unpleasant symptoms of these diseases if you already have them. If you are at-risk for disease, exercise may be the key to warding off an unpleasant condition.

Regular exercise improves brain function:

One of the most remarkable developments in health science is the revelation that the mind and the body are much more closely linked. A healthy body likely means a healthy mind, and seniors that exercise on a regular basis have improved cognitive health, according to research from NCBI. More recently, a study from the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, regular exercise has been shown to reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia by nearly 50%.

Exercise is crucial for older adults, but it can be hard to know where to begin. If you haven’t worked out for a while, re-entry into the active world can be daunting. There’s also a good chance the exercises you were once accustomed to aren’t ideal for older adults.

Before you launch into an exercise regimen, it’s important to check with a physician to ensure you’re healthy enough for exercise, and to see which exercises are ideal for your current fitness level.

If you need any help, contact the therapy department to help get you started. 

What Are You Thankful For?

I am thankful that I live in a Christian community where I have met so many nice friends. I am thankful there are so many activities offered for our health, our growth and our entertainment. I am thankful that I don’t have to plan and cook meals ever again.”

Flo Seward 

I am thankful for the people God has put into my life.”

Don Williams

My wonderful family. My caring friends at Kirby Pines. My great medical team. I have so much to be thankful for, I don’t know where to start.”

Margaret Edrington

Mal and I are thankful we are at Kirby Pines. There is so much to keep us going even with social distancing. We are thankful we can “see and do” with other residents.”

Jean Mauney

Thankful for my health. Thankful for the security and safety that is felt living here. Thankful for my church, place of employment and America.”

Donna Paine

The joy of knowing God is in control and being a member of the Kirby Pines family.”

Ken Hardin

I am very grateful for the friendly residents and the staff always willing to help!”

Malloy Kline

I am grateful for family and friends, especially one named Sydney Wagner who calls me every morning to make sure I am OK.”

Martha Gardiner

This has been a difficult year, but during sheltering in place and social distancing I have had much time to reflect on the things for which I am thankful. God loves me, family, friends and a safe place to live.”

Barbara Lipsey

First, I am thankful for my long lasting wife and all that she has meant to me. I am thankful for a place like Kirby Pines where you can live in peace and comfort.”

Joe Jackson

Family, friends, food, our country, shelter, sunrises, sunsets, breath, life, safe living conditions, flowers, trees, good health, Kirby Pines, God, Jesus, salvation and hope of eternity in Heaven.”

Sydney Wagner

Moving to Kirby Pines is the best gift I have given myself. The employees loving care and thoughtfulness has made my time here feel like home.

Virginia Herrin

I am most thankful that we live in a place like Kirby Pines where we have everything we really need without having to go out at a time like this for anything. Kirby Pines is THE MOST!”

Nita Heffernan

From the many wonderful things from which to select, I am most thankful when Jeanette said yes to my marriage proposal.”

Steve Martin

My healthy family. The wonderful country we live in. Beautiful Kirby Pines with our welcoming friends and staff. I am a very happy and lucky person.”

Merry LeShane

I am very blessed to be here in this good place. The Kirby Pines family cares for us in happy times and in sad times.”

DeDe Scott

I am thankful to the good Lord for all the blessings He sends my way.”

Shirley Anderson

I am thankful for my family, my friends and neighbors at Kirby Pines and the security I feel when I’m out walking after dark.

Carolyn Lifland

Improving Your Flexibility

Flexibility: refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints. 

  • Length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion. 

How can you Improve Flexibility? 

  • To improve flexibility, it is important to stretch
  • Stretching- is a form of physical exercise in which a specific muscle or tendon is deliberately flexed or stretched to improve flexibility and range of motion. 

What are the Benefits of Stretching? 

  • Improve range of motion 
  • Improve performance in physical activities 
  • Decrease risk of injury 
  • Enable your muscles to work most efficiently 
  • Decrease pain and soreness after exercises 
  • Improve posture 
  • Improve circulation of blood flow throughout the muscles 
  • Prevents tightness of muscles 

Types of Stretching 

Dynamic Stretching 

  • Low intensity form of stretching that utilizes movement to stretch your muscles 
  • Increases circulation and nutrient flow throughout the body Ex: arm swings, shoulder circles, lunges, leg swings, etc. 

Static Stretching 

  • Stretching muscles while the body is at rest 
  • It is composed of various techniques that gradually lengthen a muscle to an elongated position (to the point of discomfort) and hold that position for at least 30 seconds 

Stretching Essentials 

  • Target major muscle groups 
    Calves, thighs, hips, back, neck, shoulders, arms, etc. 
  • Warm up first 
  • Hold stretch for at least 30 seconds 
  • Don’t bounce 
  • Focus on pain-free stretches 
  • Relax and breathe freely 

Fit Stretching into your Schedule 

  • • Do stretches after your morning shower or bath 
  • • Stretch before getting out of bed 
  • • Stretch after exercise 

Keep up with Stretching 

  • It can be time consuming! 
  • You can achieve the most benefits by stretching regularly at least 2-3 times a week 
  • If stretching helped you increase your range of motion, it may decrease again if you stop stretching 

Approach with Caution 

  • If you have a chronic condition or injury, you may need to adjust your techniques 
  • Talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the most appropriate way to stretch if you have any health concerns.

Give Thanks

Can you believe it’s almost Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays: a time of celebration with Friends, Family, and Feasting!! 

We don’t want to worry with our weight or dieting. Yet on the other hand, overindulging can make us very uncomfortable, especially if we forget to wear those pants with the stretchy waistband. This event can set the pattern for six weeks of holiday overeating and dare I mention weight gain. A 2014 study found that particularly heavy meals also can quadruple the risk of a heart attack, especially those with elevated risk factors. 

Here are some TIPS to enjoy a more balanced and healthier holiday: 

1. GET OUT FOR A WALK. Starting the day with a walk or a turkey trot is a great way to get the metabolism going before the feast. Studies suggest that exercising within 12 hours before a meal can prevent one of the most damaging effects–a post-meal spike in a type of fat called triglycerides. If you can’t do a morning outing, fitting a walk in between dinner and dessert is also great – it will also help boost digestion. If you can’t get out for a walk after the meal – at least get up and do dishes. Not only will your hosts appreciate it, you will burn some calories (60 calories per half hour), and standing also aids digestion. Research shows that the person who does the dishes in the house tends to be less likely to gain weight. Anything is better for your digestion than lying on the couch! 

2. HYDRATE. Thirst can sometimes be confused as hunger. When we are drinking enough water, we feel better and digest our food better. An 8 oz glass of water before a big meal can help to prevent overeating. Large amounts of fluids during a meal may dilute much needed digestive acids, interfering with proper digestion. 

3. SKIP THE SECONDS. Serve yourself a small amount of everything that you like, and don’t go back for seconds – you won’t feel deprived, but will reduce the total amount of food that your body needs to digest. You won’t feel super bloated at the end of the evening, and it can lessen the load on your heart. 

4. CHOOSE YOUR DESSERT WISELY. Even if you didn’t go overboard on the Thanksgiving dinner, the dessert can really send you off the deep end. Pecan pie is perhaps the worst of all Thanksgiving finales – just 1 slice has more than 500 calories, 9 teaspoons of added sugars, and 21 grams of fat. While Apple pie weighs in at 400 calories a slice and the winner for “Healthy Desserts “is Pumpkin Pie at 300 calories and lots of Vitamin A. Of course, whipped cream and ice cream toppers all contribute to the calorie tally. 

5. PRACTICE GRATITUDE. The sweet potatoes, turkey and cranberry, and pumpkin pie is not the only part of Thanksgiving that I love. At the beginning of our little feast, everyone takes a turn sharing what we are most thankful for. The children and adults get excited as they express their gratitude. Scientists have found that “habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is associated with well-being.” I call it an Attitude of Gratitude. 

Thanksgiving dinner prepared with love and sharing with friends and family all that we are thankful for is all we really need to celebrate Thanksgiving. (Well, maybe have some digestive enzymes on hand – just in case) 

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever”. 
Psalm 136:1

That’s what Thanksgiving is after all!! 

– Mary Hand, Oasis Coordinator 

Kirby Pines Is Thankful for Our Veterans

November is here and it appears the last of the warm weather is behind us. The leaves are turning beautifully, making our views change every day, giving us something new to enjoy and to be thankful for.

Johnnie Haley
From Our Cover,
Resident, Johnnie Haley, served in the Navy, Army and the
Air Force.

Being thankful is different for everyone, but often similar. Most of us are thankful for family, friends and faith, but everyone has their own reasons to give thanks. We asked residents what made them grateful and you can see some of their responses on page 8. We were happily overwhelmed with participation, and want you to know that all of the quotes will be available for the entire community to see this month.

Another reason to be thankful during the month of November is the day we celebrate those who faithfully served our country. Veteran’s Day falls on Wednesday, November 11th, however, we will have a special Resident Association Meeting on Thursday the 12th to honor our veterans here at Kirby Pines.

Our front cover features one of our newer veterans to the community, but one who deserves our thanks and recognition. Johnnie Haley served in three major branches of the military over 21 years. 

The back cover pays homage to many of our other veterans who have served in both times of war and peace. From WWII to Vietnam, we could not be more proud to have them at Kirby Pines. Again, we got so many amazing photos submitted, that we could not use them all here, but they will be available for everyone to enjoy this month.

So THANK YOU to all of our residents, who always go out of their way to help us out with The Pinecone magazine. We really, truly could not do it without you!

Benefits of Exercise

If you have a medical problem or you are an older adult, you may be at risk of falling or tripping. This can result in broken bones or even more serious injuries.

Exercising can help prevent falls because it can:

  • Make your muscles stronger and more flexible
  • Improve your balance
  • Increase how long you can be active

You can do the following exercises anytime and almost anywhere. As you get stronger, try to hold each position longer or add light weights to your ankles. This will increase how effective the exercise is.

Try to exercise 150 minutes a week. Perform muscle strengthening exercises 2 or more days a week. Start off slowly and check with your health care provider to make sure you are doing the right type of exercises for you. You may want to exercise on your own or join a group.

When you exercise, always make sure you breathe slowly and easily. DO NOT hold your breath.

Toe Stand

To make your calves and ankle muscles stronger:

  • Hold on to a solid support for balance, like the back of a chair
  • Stand with your back straight and slightly bend both knees
  • Push up onto your tiptoes as high as possible
  • Slowly lower your heels to the floor
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times

Knee Curl

To make your buttocks and lower back muscles stronger:

  • Hold on to a solid support for balance, like the back of a chair
  • Stand with your back straight, feet shoulder width apart, and slightly bend both knees
  • Lift one leg straight back behind you, then bend your knee and bring your heel toward your buttock
  • Slowly lower your leg back to a standing position
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg

Leg Extension

To make your thigh muscles stronger and help decrease knee pain:

  • Sit in a straight-back chair with your feet on the floor
  • Straighten one leg out in front of you as much as possible
  • Slowly lower your leg back down
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times with each leg

Stretching the Back of Your Leg

To make it easier for you to move around:

  • Sit in a straight-back chair
  • Put one foot on a low stool in front of you
  • Straighten your leg that is on the stool and reach your hand toward this foot
  • Hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Then sit back up
  • Repeat 5 times with each leg

Other Activities

  • Walking is a great way to improve your strength, balance, and endurance
  • Use a walking stick or walker as needed for support
  • Tai Chi is a good exercise for healthy adults to help develop balance
  • Simple movements and exercises in a swimming pool can help improve balance and build strength

Exercise: Good for You – Good for Your Brain

Retired couple walking on a fall day

Studies are beginning to demonstrate that we need to put down that pencil and stand up and go for a walk. Physical exercise is proven to be better for your brain health than memory quizzes. Studies even suggest that people who are physically active “have lower rates of Alzheimer’s and other age-associated neurodegenerative disorders,” says Arthur F. Kramer, senior vice provost for research and graduate education at Northeastern University in Boston and an expert on exercise and the brain. 

Our brains need the stimulation of aerobic exercise; that is, exercises that raise your heart rate and respiration. Just 30 minutes a day 5 days a week (150 minutes) of moderate intensity exercise can make a difference in mental as well as physical and emotional well-being. That extra blood flow to the brain creates higher levels of BDNF, a protein that stimulates brain cell healing and growth. 

Here at Kirby Pines we have many opportunities for aerobic exercise: walking, water aerobics, sit and stand classes. In the Oasis, we have the recumbent bicycle, Nustep, and treadmill to give you a safe aerobic workout. For strengthening exercises, try the yoga class or free weights and resistance equipment in the Oasis. 

So leave your puzzles behind and step it up to exercise your brain. We are offering Yoga Stretch on Channel 10 on Mondays and Wednesdays at 12:45 and Sit and Stand at 11:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays or visit the Oasis anytime. It’s not too late to join the walking program. Our first team of the week was “Sam and Sadie”. 

October is Alzheimer Awareness Month. We are so blessed to have an amazing facility like Job’s Way that was specifically designed for people with Memory Issues. We want to show our support to the Alzheimer’s Association through financial donations so they may continue their mission to educate and research to end Alzheimer’s and dementia while enhancing care for those living with the disease. 

Benefits of Being Outdoors

Improvements in Mental Health

Seniors who spend time outdoors may experience less depression and anxiety. Individuals who run, bike or walk in natural settings have a reduced risk of mental health problems compared to people who do their exercise inside.

Participating in nature walks with others is linked to more positive feelings and better mental health, along with lower levels of depression and stress. Seniors who are unable to exercise can benefit from getting outdoors by enjoying the change of scenery, smelling freshly cut grass and seeing beautiful, natural vistas.

Experts advise that seniors should try to spend time in natural areas like parks on a regular basis. The relaxation that nature provides can improve mood and increase overall feelings of happiness.

Retired couple dancing outside

Abundant Energy

Being outside in nature makes you feel more alive and provides a greater sense of energy and vitality, which can help make you more resilient to illness.

Spending time outdoors may boost your memory. One study found a 20-percent improvement in attention span and memory after spending just one hour in a natural environment. More time spent outdoors resulted in even greater gains in memory, and it may improve creativity as well.

Better Overall Health

Being outside can help increase levels of Vitamin D, which often is low among seniors. Low levels of this important nutrient are 

linked to pain in muscles and bones, inflammation, higher risk of Type 1 diabetes and several types of cancer.

Getting sufficient Vitamin D can help reduce your risk of a number of physical ailments, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and heart attack. By spending just 15 minutes outside in the sunshine each day, you help your body receive the recommended dose of Vitamin D.

Being outside may also improve your overall immunity by boosting your count of white blood cells, and the improvements may last for a week or more. In addition, time in nature may help you recover more quickly from an injury or illness.

Many Ways to Get Outside

If you enjoy aerobic exercise like walking, heading outdoors for your workout can provide additional benefits. 

Gardening is another great way to interact with nature and get some exercise at the same time. Consider creating a natural area with native species that can become routes for butterfly and bird migration. You might consider joining a group for nature-oriented activities like birdwatching.

No matter the activity, research tells us that simply being outside and enjoying nature can provide a variety of benefits for your energy, creativity, and mental and physical well-being.