The Effectiveness of Multidimensional Programs – Brain Power

Food for thought: when is the last time you did something that truly challenged your brain? Perhaps the Sunday crossword puzzle, a game of chess, or learned a new skill, like how to speak a new language? In today’s world, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the minutiae of everyday life, sucked into the world of television and social media, and forget about the things that are mentally, physically, and emotionally stimulating. 

Did you know that some of our body systems start to age as early as 30 years old? As part of the normal aging process, we tend to experience slower processing speed, increased difficulty with multi-tasking, occasional forgetfulness, and decreased memory of things that are newly learned. While some cognitive decline is normal, severe decline is not. Just like exercise and strength training can help stave off decline in muscle mass, there are things you can do to maintain a healthy brain and ward off cognitive decline. Your brain is like any other muscle, and it must be challenged regularly. A recent study through The Mather Institute showed that having a multi-faceted approach to cognitive training can have more of a positive impact than just the cognitive training itself. Participating in events that are cognitively stimulating has many benefits, but it’s even more effective when it’s partnered with stress management (emotional wellness), good sleep habits (Physical wellness), social engagement (social wellness), and brain health education (cognitive wellness). 

Kirby Pines has many activities and events that can be cognitively stimulating, such as Game Play, Poetry Group, Bridge, Line Dancing and Book Baggers to name a few. In addition to these activities, consider adding elements of emotional, physical, social, and cognitive wellness, to truly provide the best “nutrient-rich soil” for a healthy mind to grow and thrive. 

Here are some ways incorporate some of the other elements of wellness into your brain health approach: 

Stress Management: Being able to manage stress in healthy ways helps to create balance in life. Learning skills to manage one’s stress can be found through peer counseling, participating in relaxing activities, such as Water Aerobics or Worship Service, or connecting with nature. 

Healthy Sleep Habits: Remember the article a few months back about successful sleep? Sleep is restorative, and lack of sleep interferes with memory and learning. Your brain moves slower without sleep, and therefore you’re more forgetful and your attention declines. 

Social Engagement: Being involved with others is strongly linked to better brain function, so stay connected! Participate in a group event, like Group Exercise, a Travelers outing, or any other social event offered by Kirby Pines, or just connect with a friend for lunch. Whatever you choose, staying socially engaged is good for your mental and emotional health. 

Brain Health Education: Knowing ABOUT brain health is an important part OF brain health! Learning about the best foods to eat, the best things to do to stay cognitively intact, and what to look for in terms of decline are all important. There are many wonderful resources out there, like The National Institute on Aging, The Center for Disease Control, and even the Functional Pathways Therapy Team! 

For more information on how Functional Pathway’s Therapy Team can help you with your cognitive goals, please contact us! Remember: When all dimensions of our life are balanced, we thrive!

Brittany Austin, National Director of Health and Wellness, Functional Pathways


Don’t Let Summer Heat Get You Down… IT’S TIME TO ENERGIZE

Are you tired of feeling tired? Does your fatigue rule your daily activities? Do you want to be more active? Years ago the philosophy of growing old was to retire, rest, and take it easy. Today’s way of life for retired folks is stay busy, enjoy your hobbies, and keep moving. Most Kirby Pines residents’ appointment books stay booked up. I would much rather hear someone say, “Sorry I won’t make exercise class today: I have too much to do.” Rather than I’m too tired to do anything.” Here are some great tips to boost your energy level and restore that happy, vibrant feeling. 

When we try to relieve stress, we often turn to “comfort” foods and a plan to get away from it all. Some of our choices which actually steal away our energy are: 

  1. Television often over stimulates our minds like choosing a channel, raises our stress and emotion levels and watching hours at a time makes us feel sluggish and stiff. 
  2. Highly caffeinated beverages may give us a sudden burst of energy, but that soon wears away leaving us in a down mood and it may interfere with a good night’s sleep which causes even more fatigue. 
  3. Fatty and fried foods and sugary snacks also give us that quick energy but can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar bringing on that sinking feeling. 

Try some of these helpful ideas the next time you feel a little drained. 

  1. Check your posture. Slumping makes your muscles work harder than sitting up right. 
  2. Make time for quiet time. Prayer and meditation relaxes your body, slows breathing, lowers blood pressure, and relieves worry. 
  3. Drink a glass of cold water. Dehydration is a major cause of fatigue. Try to get in 8 glasses daily. Water also improves digestion, helps control obesity, and helps kidney function. 
  4. Be positive with yourself. Speak to yourself with encouragement, not criticism. “It’s a new day!” “ Take ‘quit’ out of your vocabulary”. 
  5. Wear red. A brightly colored scarf or shirt can improve your mood and alertness. 
  6. Listen to good music. Irish folk music with fiddles and accordions invigorates me. 
  7. Laugh out Loud (LOL). A good chuckle, giggle, or side-busting guffaw reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, and raises endorphins, our body’s natural painkiller. Read the comics,watch an Andy Griffith rerun, or connect with someone who shares your sense of humor. 
  8. Get enough sleep. 
  9. Pop a peppermint in your mouth. The scent of peppermint can decrease fatigue by up to 25 percent. 
  10. Exercise and Stretch every day, several times each day.

Step away from the TV and fatty, sugary foods and step up your energy level with some of the many opportunities Kirby Pines has to offer. Join a card group or play bingo. Sign up for a Bible study. Join some of the exercise classes which are available Monday through Friday to help with stretching, cardio, exercise and strengthening. And remember, the Oasis exercise room never closes. 


Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

Grandma, Do Wrinkles Hurt?

A friend told me this story recently. A seven-year-old girl was sitting on her grandmother’s lap. As the little girl moved her hand casually over the older woman’s face, Grandma said, “Honey, those are my wrinkles. They mean that I’m getting older.” The little girl thought for a moment and then asked, “Grandma, do wrinkles hurt?” 

That’s a loaded question! It involves more than just wrinkles. It deals with the whole business of aging. Age is an issue at all times of our life. In fact, age is an issue of life because our aging determines in large part the pattern of our lives. 

It’s difficult to think of aging without reflecting on retirement. I believe in retirement, but I’m afraid our culture has equated retirement with “ceasing to work”… and ceasing to work has become inactivity or endless days of golfing, fishing, or some other recreation. 

Back to wrinkles; do they hurt? NO! In fact, our wrinkles could mean far more than added years. They could mean 

Wisdom, if we decided to continue growing and sharing; 

Joy, if we used some of our time relating to, and serving others; 

Continued growth, if we did not retire our minds, and involved ourselves in the issues that are impacting our community; 

Spiritual growth, if we banded together with a few others in mutual accountability, if we practiced prayer and regularly shared in public worship. 

We live in a culture which glorifies youth. Notice the people in the TV commercials. We “older folks” need to show America a good image of aging by personifying an exciting sign of wrinkles. The Bible says that “Gray hair is a crown of splendor. (Proverbs 20:29). Many of the biblical heroes were up in age before they did great things. 

Our wrinkles need not hurt. Let’s make them a badge of honor. 

-Maxie Dunnam  


Congratulations to Our Employee of the Month

Nasheka Ross

Rehab Unit Manager – RN

Describe your family: I have a younger brother ad sister. We all enjoy eating and hanging out.

Describe yourself in five words: Humble, patient, kind, open-minded and dependable.

What do you do for fun: I enjoy acting silly with my family, especially my son.

Do you have a pet: A 10 year old Yorkie named Cody and a 1 year old Pitbull named KoKo.

Do you have any hobbies or interests: I can’t sing, but love it. Give me a microphone and it’s on!

What is your favorite thing about your job: I really enjoy helping people and learning new things.

What is your favorite food: Any red pasta & gummy candy.  Favorite song: Love All Over Me by Monica. But many more, too. 

What is something you are proud of: I am a proud mother of a four year old son. 

What would you like people to know about you: I love to laugh, laugh, laugh. I love funny movies and stand-up comedy shows.

As a nurse on the Rehab Unit, Nasheka definitely makes a difference in the resident’s care. Her pleasing personality warmly welcomes residents and their families, comforting them during their stay. Her kindness along with expertise as an efficient and effective clinician makes her a joy to work with. The key to Nasheka’s success as a Unit Manager and a great team player is her ability to deliver stellar results, often times under pressure—with a smile. Congratulations from all of us!

Rhonda Nelson, Director of Nursing


Tips to Become Computer Savvy

1. Conquer Your Fear. Fear holds us back from living our best lives. While exploring a new thing can be intimidating and scary, you know that you will get better with time. You have not come this far in your life by being timid, but by being brave.

Look back at all those things that you were once afraid of that now enjoy, maybe it was making a speech or dancing and see how you conquered that! This too will be fun.

2. Have A Positive, Open Attitude. It is true that your attitude determines your altitude. Have an open attitude towards learning about computers and the Internet.

3. Reach Out. Do not be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you make the choice to learn about technology. Most people are really good at this and will be more than willing to help. This could also be a great time to spend time and bond with your child or grandchild. 

4. Google. In some cases, you may not have someone physically there to assist you, not to worry Google is your friend. Once you are connected to the Internet, you can use Google to find out anything you need to know.

If you search ‘how to use Microsoft word,’ Google will provide you with countless detailed results to pick from. Follow the instructions that are simplest to you.

5. Basic Settings Should Suit Your Needs. Making simpler alterations to suit your needs such as larger text size and louder sounds will improve your experience.

6. Write Down Your Passwords. As you get older you may experience some level of forgetfulness which is quite normal. It is therefore advisable to have a backup plan. Write down your new passwords in your journal so that in the event you log out and forget, you can always get them in hard copy.

7. Battery. Only charge your computer, tablet, or phone when the battery is running low on charge. Charging your device all day can reduce the battery life.

8. Personal Information. If you are making an online transaction or storing bank details, it is important to speak to your bank and understand the precautions you need to take. However, your information is safe in such situation.

9. Search History. If you share your tablet or computer with someone say a spouse or your grandchildren who want to play games but you want to keep your activities private, always delete your search history when you are done.

10. Most Things are Free. While in the real world most things are not free, on the Internet they are. According to a BBC article, an application for counting your calories or playing your favorite puzzle will not cost you a thing. However, be sure to check first.

11. Read Reviews Before Buying Items Online. If you want to buy a particular product or use a certain service say booking a hotel online, online reviews are very helpful. Most companies will not be honest about their shortcomings on their website, but a reviewer will be.

12. Virus/Malware Scanning. Invest in a good antivirus; this is a great way to keep your information protected. The good news is that most computers nowadays come with an inbuilt virus and malware and the scanner is quite user-friendly.


Staying Safe – Summer Travel Tips

It’s summer! Your plans may include driving out of town to visit family or friends for a long weekend, or something local like going to see the Memphis Redbirds play a game or heading to your favorite restaurant for a night of fine dining. Unlike in the winter, we tend not to think about weather conditions and travel safety as much. In the colder months, we are typically more cognizant of the weather forecast and freezing temperatures because they can hinder our ability to get to where we want to go. There’s nothing like a huge snowstorm in the forecast to ruin your travel plans or delay a trip! Although the heat may not seem like it’s as dangerous as the cold, it certainly brings its own potential challenges. Extreme heat can affect your car, and if your car should break down while you are traveling, the occupants can be at risk of heat-related illnesses, such as sunburn, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. 

With the summer in full swing, it’s a great time to talk about travel safety and what can be done to ensure you are as prepared as possible when you get behind the wheel or climb into a car, no matter how long or short your trip might be. If you plan to travel, or even head out for a simple trip to Kroger this summer, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind. 

Check Your Vehicle. It is important to make sure your car is in tip-top shape. You can run a recall check through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to see if your vehicle has any critical safety issues here: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls. You will also want to make sure your tires, cooling system, fluid levels, batteries, lights, and wiper blades are all functioning properly. Motor oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, power-steering fluid, and windshield wiper fluid can all be at risk of running dry in hot weather. Keep them topped off and double-check them before any long trips. And don’t forget to fuel up! 

Avoid Risky Behaviors. Don’t text and drive or drive distracted. Pick your music before you start to drive. Set your GPS and know where you are going before you put your foot on the gas. Limit your distractions as much as possible. Make sure you wear your seat belt, every trip, every time. 

Plan Ahead. Before you leave, make sure your vehicle is stocked. Even a well-maintained vehicle can break down, so it’s smart to have an emergency roadside kit in your car. This can help keep you safe, should you find yourself stranded. You can keep the kit in your trunk, and make sure it stays stocked! Some of the things to keep in your kit can include: 

Battery pack and charger cable for your cell phone • First aid kit
Flashlight and spare batteries • Flares and a white flag
Jumper cables • Tire pressure gauge Jack (for changing tires)
Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines 
Maps Notepad and paper

Take Care of Yourself. As the driver, it is important to make sure you are safe behind the wheel. Driving relies heavily on vision and response time, so it’s critical that those skills are intact. Visual acuity, or how clearly you can see, and field of vision, or how wide of an area your eye can see when you focus on a central point, are the two most important factors in terms of vision for safe driving. Vision screens and cognitive assessments are offered through the Therapy Department and can be a great tool to help ensure driver safety. 

For more information on how Functional Pathways could help you travel safely this summer, please contact our Therapy Team! 

Brittany Austin, National Director of Health and Wellness, Functional Pathways


10 Tips to Tread Safely

Using the Treadmill with Arthritis

Treadmills seem simple, but they can be hazardous, particularly for people with joint or balance issues. “Trying to catch yourself when you lose your balance can result in muscle strains or injury in almost any joint”, says physical therapist Mary Ann Wilmarth, CEO of Back2Back Physical Therapy in Andover, Mass. 

“Injuries can go all the way up the kinetic chain when people slip and try to recover by catching themselves. This can mean foot injuries, strained or sprained ankles, shoulders and wrists – as well as the back and hips if you’re twisting as you lose balance,” she says. 

You can protect yourself by using these tips to tread more safely. 

  1. Use a full-sized treadmill with side rails. The belt should be at least 22 inches wide and 50 inches long, and the machine should have handrails on both sides you can use for balance. 
  2. Wear sturdy, low-heeled athletic shoes. Soles higher than 1 inch can lead to ankle rollovers. Use the topmost shoelace hole for extra stability. 
  3. Learn the controls. Before you step on, get familiar with how to adjust the speed, incline and especially the red “fast-stop” button. 
  4. Use the safety key. Before you hit start, clip the safety key to your shirt so if you slip, the machine will stop immediately. 
  5. Start, then step on. Hold the rail and stand on either side of the belt as you start it at a low speed. Then step on the belt and increase speed slowly. 
  6. Use a slight incline. An incline of about 2% can reduce impact on the spine, hips, knees, feet and ankles, but a steeper climb increases joint stress. 
  7. Find the right stride. You’ll know it’s on target when you’re walking comfortably – not overstretching your lead leg – with arms swinging freely. 
  8. Look straight ahead. Looking down or around can throw off your balance and cause you to trip. 
  9. Stay centered. Know where you are on the belt and avoid drifting sideways or toward the back of the belt. 
  10. Catch Your Fall: If you start to fall while you’re on the treadmill, hit the emergency stop button. Grasp the rails and move your feet to one side, then step off and sit down until you’ve recovered. 

Use the NuStep as an alternative if you are currently using an aid for balance, such as a cane, walker or wheelchair or having balance issues. You should not attempt to use the treadmill. 

Tomorrow’s Treadmill – One day in the near future, a treadmill that uses sonar technology to automatically adjust its speed to match the pace of the user may be the future of treadmills. But until then, follow these guidelines for safety on the treadmill. 

Never use exercise equipment if you have any questions about how to use it. Exercise is important, but your safety is more important. 


Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

The Beautiful Truth About Us 

A while ago my wife, Jerry, attended a women’s retreat led by a Roman Catholic nun, Sister Susan. A few days after returning from the retreat, Jerry received a letter from Sister Susan which concluded with this prayer, and suggesting that Jerry pray it daily: “Oh God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is.” 

What a prayer! Does it shock you? Most of would have problems praying it. Why? Our Christian faith warns about thinking too highly of ourselves than we ought to think. 

Unfortunately, we have misunderstood that and taken it too far. The message of Christianity, the most affirming of all religions, has come through as self-denial. To be sure, there is a place for self-denial, but that must not be seen as self-depreciation or any form of devaluating self. 

As the pinnacle of God’s creation, not proudly, but humbly we should have a high opinion of ourselves. This old story will put it in perspective. A French Prime Minister said to an eminent surgeon who was to operate on him, “You will not, of course, treat me in the same manner as you would your poor, miserable wretches in the hospital.” The surgeon replied, “Sir, every one of those poor, miserable wretches, as your Eminence is pleased to call them, is a prime minister in my eyes.” 

In the eyes of God we are all creatures of potential greatness. Write the prayer down—memorize it. Pray it daily—it will change your life: 

Oh God, help me to believe the truth about myself no matter how beautiful it is.”

-Maxie Dunnam  


Congratulations to Our Employee of the Month

Channon Mays

Caring In Place Office Assistant

Describe your family: My family is close, loud, and wouldn’t want it any other way.

Describe yourself in five words: Caring, loving, friendly, energetic and understanding.

What do you do for fun: I love to be with my family and friends, shopping and dancing.

Do you have a pet: A poodle, his name is State. 

Do you have any hobbies or interests: My idol is Selena Quintanilla, so anything to do with her.

What is your favorite thing about your job: Getting to help residents and putting a smile on their faces.

What is your favorite food: Any kind of Chicken or watermelon.  Favorite song: BIDI BIDI BOM BOM by Selena Quintanilla. 

What is something you are proud of: I am proud of myself and how far I’ve come in this life so far. Also my friends and family. 

What would you like people to know about you: I am always available if anyone needs me for anything and I love to joke and laugh.

Channon brings a bright smile to Caring in Place every day! Her consistent positive attitude always boosts our spirits, when we need it most. Channon has always made herself available to assist us, in any way possible. Her commitment to Caring in Place and Kirby Pines is unwavering. We are fortunate to have Channon on our team! 

– Victoria Snelling, Director of Personal Support Services


Dad Jokes? I think you mean Rad Jokes!

How many narcissists does it take to screw in a light bulb?
One. The narcissist holds the light bulb while the rest of the world revolves around him.

I was addicted to the hokey pokey…but I turned myself around.

Why don’t pirates take a bath before they walk the plank?
They just wash up on shore.

Why do you never see elephants hiding in trees?
Because they’re so good at it.

Did you hear about the racing snail who got rid of his shell?
He thought it would make him faster, but it just made him sluggish.

We all know about Murphy’s Law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. But have you heard of Cole’s Law? It’s thinly sliced cabbage.

When does a joke become a “dad joke”? When it becomes apparent.

I had a happy childhood. My dad used to put me in tires and roll me down hills. Those were Goodyears.

I know a bunch of good jokes about umbrellas, but they usually go over people’s heads.

The bank keeps calling me to give me compliments. They say I have an “outstanding balance.”

Barbers…you have to take your hat off to them.

What’s a vampire’s favorite ship? A blood vessel.

There’s only one thing I can’t deal with, and that’s a deck of cards glued together.

The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.

Dad: Did you hear about the kidnapping at school? Son: No. What happened? Dad: The teacher woke him up.

What did the evil chicken lay? Deviled eggs.

Why did the man name his dogs Rolex and Timex?
Because they were watchdogs.

My doctor told me I’ve really grown as a person. Well, her exact words were that I “gained excess weight.”

A ham sandwich walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender says, “Sorry, we don’t serve food here.”

Why do melons have weddings? Because they cantaloupe.

What does a mobster buried in cement soon become?
A hardened criminal.

What did the skeleton order with its beer? A mop.

What did one cannibal say to the other while they were eating a clown? Does this taste funny to you?

Inflation is really getting out of hand, but that’s just my five cents.

Why is grass so dangerous? Because it’s full of blades.

What is the Easter bunny’s favorite type of music? Hip-hop.

Did you hear about the guy who stole 50 cartons of hand sanitizer? They couldn’t prosecute—his hands were clean.

Why do nurses like red crayons? Sometimes they have to draw blood.