Boost Your Brain!

It’s a well-known fact that regular physical activity is beneficial. It strengthens bones and muscles, combats health conditions and diseases, improves mood, boosts energy and makes you feel better. Another benefit to physical activity is the positive impact it has on your brain! 

Being physically active improves cognitive health – it can improve the way you think, learn, problem-solve, and help you enjoy an emotional balance. Exercising can also improve your memory, reduce anxiety, and even help improve your quality of sleep. And here’s the best part – ANY amount of physical activity has been shown to be beneficial. 

Some of the effects of exercise on brain health happen immediately, meaning they occur during exercise or shortly thereafter, such as a reduced feeling of anxiety, improved sleep, and improved aspects of cognitive function. With regular physical activity, other long-term benefits occur, such as improvements in executive function (the ability to plan and organize, initiate tasks, control emotions), deep sleep, and more long-term anxiety management. 

What Can You Do? 

Being active might be easier than you think. Here are some ideas for how to stay active throughout the day. Remember – every little bit counts! 

Daily Chores – what might count as physical activity? Cleaning, gardening, laundry, and other household chores can count as activity for the day! If it’s getting you up and moving, it certainly counts. 

Be Active While Watching TV – think of ways to be active to reduce the amount of sedentary time in the day. Keep a list of activities, such as arm circles, marching in place, or leg kicks, to do during commercial breaks, while watching your favorite shows. 

Walk – walking is one of the simplest and most effective things we can do. Walk your dog, walk with a friend, walk to get the mail. Take the long way to get to dinner. Walk two times around the lake. Think of ways to get extra steps in! 

The pros of exercise are countless. The next time you attend an exercise or dancing class, talk a walk, or a dip in the pool, remember you are improving your physical health, and your cognitive health! 

If you need help determining which exercises might be best for you to, reach out to the Functional Pathways Therapy Team and we will be happy to help guide you!

This is Dedicated to the One I Love

Remember that old love song from the 60’s. Taking care of yourself for the one you love may be just the motivation you need to begin a healthier you. 

Care giving for a loved one can be one of life’s most draining experiences: affecting mind, body and soul. To counter this, set personal health goals. For example, set a goal to find time to be physically active on most days of the week, or set a goal for getting a good night’s sleep. It’s also crucial to eat a healthy diet. When caregivers understand that, there can be a tremendous sense of relief that allows them to set more realistic goals. Remember these keys to keep depression at bay: 

Maintain a life outside of care giving. Stay connected to friends. Don’t give up your daily routines. Maintain your health. Get regular check-ups, eat a balanced diet, and exercise. Exercise. It un-kinks tense muscles, revs up the cardiovascular system, and floods the brain with feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins. Use simple de-stressing techniques. Deep breathing, muscle relaxation, meditation, and self-massage. And laugh. “People don’t think of humor as a way to cope with stress, but they should”. Join a support group. In support groups, you validate your role as caregiver, voice your fears, vent your frustrations, and learn coping strategies and techniques. 

“Exercise is an antidote to aging,” says Barry A. Franklin, PhD, director of the cardiac rehabilitation and exercise labs at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI. A well-rounded routine, as part of a healthy lifestyle, may help you avoid things like falls, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Experts say many of the conditions people think are due to getting older have more to do with not moving enough. 

At any age, these are the types of exercise you want to get: 

Aerobic: good for your heart and lungs. It’s also good for your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, sleep, and memory. What to do: You can walk briskly, walk in the water, or do any other activity that gets your heart rate up. 

Strength training: good for your muscles and bones. It’s the principle of “use it or lose it.” What to do: Start with 2-pound hand weights or resistance stretch bands. 

Flexibility and balance: helps prevent falls by stretching your muscles and keep them from stiffening up. What to do: Yoga and tai chi are good for both. You can also learn balance exercises in senior fitness classes or from a personal trainer. 

Whatever you do, start at a medium pace, where you move a little bit but can still hold a conversation. Aim for 30 minutes a day and build up to that, even if you start with just 5 minutes at a time. 

We have everything you need right here at Kirby Pines. Check out the Oasis for exercise equipment or join one of our exercise classes. Setting healthy goals for yourself can be “Dedicated to the ones you love.” 

Remember All Your Valentines at Kirby Pines

Do you remember when celebrating Valentine’s Day meant making cut out cards and sending them to your friends? Or going to buy a whole package of cards for your school class and teacher for thirty-nine cents? Do you remember saving to buy a sampler box of candy for your mom in hopes that she would share some with you? In our youth, this was just another holiday where we told as many friends and family members that we cared and loved them. 

While European countries have celebrated Valentine’s Day for centuries, British settlers most probably imported it to North America in the 19th century. The first mass-produced valentines made of embossed paper lace were produced in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1847. The creator, Ester Howland, took her inspiration from an English card she received and her father sold her cards in his general store. Originally meant to be shared among one’s “true love”, by the early 20th century valentine cards were being exchanged among family members and soon afterward friends. The practice of exchanging cards was extending to all manner of gifts in the second half of the 20th century.

As we got older, somehow Valentine’s Day took on a different meaning, and the number of cards we sent grew smaller until there were only one or two that we purchased. Of course that was a good thing, as receiving these cards had a much deeper and stronger meaning to each of us. Yet thinking back over the years, I sometimes wonder if it would not have been better had we continued the innocence of youth regarding the number of friends and family members we made time to send valentine cards to. After all, if we can make that special person in our heart smile by just reminding them how much we care about them with a simple card on Valentine’s Day, why not double, triple or even quadruple that number by simply returning to what seemed so normal in our youth?

Therefore, please think of this as my Valentine’s Day Card to all of you, but more importantly, as a testament of the friendship we have developed over the years. 

Happy St Valentine’s Day!


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam


It was hard to believe: 162-year sentence deemed excessive. That was the headline (Commercial Appeal, Dec. 16, 2022). The story was of a man, Courtney Anderson, who in 2020 was sentenced to 162 years in prison for repeated non-violent offenses. I found it difficult to believe the story, but it happened here in Memphis. Discovering that inhumane action on the part of a judge, District Attorney Steve Mulroy said, “It made me sick to my stomach when I saw what had occurred in this case.”

Anderson explained to the judge that his theft and fraud offenses were tied to a cocaine addiction. He has been sober for decades. Mulroy’s office and Anderson’s defense attorney worked with the court and his sentence was reduced to 15 years. He was released because he had already served the sentence. Now, at 54 years old Anderson is free.

I read that story and tried to put myself in Anderson’s place. On the beginning of this new year, I’m wondering what Anderson is going to do with the rest of his life? The larger question is, What are we going to do with the time we have?

Psalms 90, one of my favorites, deals with time and what we are doing with it. In the midst of it, there is this chunk of significant wisdom: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Keeping that in mind and anticipating this new year there are some thoughts I’ve had and decisions I’ve made.

I’m going to guard against giving in to procrastination. How much of the good and the beautiful, the exciting and the positive, never happens because we procrastinate to the point that the opportunity spends itself. William James, the distinguished psychologist, gave us some saving advice when he said, “Seek the first possible opportunity to act on every good resolution you make.” So, I’m going to resist the temptation to procrastinate. 

Two, I’m not going to use age as an excuse. Being on Social Security doesn’t give us the right to be inconsiderate, nasty or cantankerous. And nowhere along the way is there an excuse for being less than the loving and lovable person God and others would have us be. 

That’s one level of the problem of using growing old as an excuse. – Another level has to do with using age as an excuse for being less capable and less useful. I know that energy wanes with age. I know that there is a healthy slowing down that ought to be affirmed and celebrated, but I’m talking about something else. I’m talking about the common myth that says as we grow old, we automatically become less capable and useful. 

At 94, Bertrand Russell led international peace drives; at 93, George Bernard Shaw wrote the play, Farfetched Fables at 91. At 89, Albert Schweitzer headed a hospital in Africa. 

So, let’s not use growing old as an excuse not to be capable and useful. 


-Maxie Dunnam  

Congratulations to Our Champion of the Month

Genese Rogers

Treatment Nurse

Describe your family: Happy, intelligent, loving and understanding.

Describe yourself in five words: Happy, dedicated, helpful and willing to take on any task.

What do you do for fun: Reading, shopping, spending time with family.

What are some of your hobbies: Playing my flute.

What is your favorite thing about your job: Seeing and taking care of my residents makes me smile.

What is your favorite food: Seafood and Japanese.

What is your favorite song: I love all music.

What is something you are proud of: My kids, all four of them.

What would you like people to know about you: I love life, my family, myself, my job and my faith.

Genese, takes good care of the residents, very caring and dedicated. She is a team player and a hard worker. She takes initiative and always goes the extra mile with a positive attitude. She helps residents wanting to attend special programs in getting them there and also knowing their interests and what is available to them. Thank you Genese for being part of our team!

– Florrie Clark, Assisted Living Supervisor 

8 Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for YOU! 

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? If you’re looking to make 2023 one of your healthiest and happiest years yet, consider focusing on doable goals to boost your health and quality of life. It turns out even small daily adjustments can have a surprisingly big impact on your health!

Here are eight ways you can help yourself feel good and age well:

1. Eat more nutrient-dense foods. You need fewer calories with aging, but just as many nutrients. Eat more nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats and poultry, beans, nuts, and seeds. Also consider consuming less sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts, white bread and pasta made from refined grains, advises the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

2. Do a variety of physical activities. Older adults can benefit from doing four types of activity regularly. These include aerobic exercise, such as walking or swimming, for endurance; and activities to strengthen muscles, improve balance and increase flexibility, says NIH. Doing yoga, for example, combines balance, flexibility and strengthening. 

3. Think positively. Studies show that a positive attitude has been linked to faster and better recovery from injury or disability, lower risk of chronic disease and memory loss, less isolation and loneliness, and handling stress better without ignoring difficulties, according to Dalhousie University. 

4. Stimulate your mind. Challenging your brain to learn something new through a university or community class, book or movie club, or photography group, helps keep your brain healthy, says Dalhousie University. Lifelong learning helps build cognitive reserve, the brain’s resilience and ability to cope with stress and challenges. 

5. Help other people. Research reveals volunteering improves health by reducing stress and depression risk, and keeping you physically, mentally and socially active. It also may help you live longer, reports Mayo Clinic. 

6. Stay connected and make new friends. Social engagement and participation are especially important for older adults. These are linked to better cognition and overall health, and lower risk of depression and disability, reports Statistics Canada. 

7. Engage in the arts. Participating in the arts through music, painting, writing, dance or theatre can stimulate people in unique ways that bring cognitive and mood benefits, according to McMaster University. 

8. Share a good laugh. Humor, or a smile, can make you feel good even in difficult times. Laughter also strengthens your immune system, lifts mood, eases pain and lowers stress, says Harvard Health.

Resident Spotlight: Steve & Jeanette Martin


Jeanette and Stevens (Steve) Martin are good examples of the axiom that life begins after retirement. Although both were active early in life, traveling and experiencing new things continue to be a priority in their lives.

In a capsule, Jeanette and Steve have been to all fifty states and many of the Canadian provinces. They have visited most of the national and smaller parks in the United States, making many visits over a ten-year period in their motor home. According to Jeannette, “Parking a motor home in places it can’t possibly fit and living in such close quarters can really test a marriage. When Steve and I married, the naysayers said it wouldn’t last because of our different personalities. Our marriage has lasted over forty-six years. I guess we proved them wrong!”

The Martins have enjoyed extensive international travel as well. They honeymooned in Tahiti, which continues to be a favorite memory although they consider Portugal to be a close second. As seasoned travelers, the Martins usually plan their visits. Sometimes, misadventures occur. On one of their trips to France, after driving circles around their hotel for an hour, they finally discovered the entrance proved to look like a sidewalk. Another time, a faulty GPS took them to a dead end and a river they could not cross.

Both Jeanette and Steve are considered to be “Yankees” by birth. Jeanette was born in Lansing, Michigan, and Steve in Fort Dix, New Jersey. Jeanette’s father was a business owner, and her mother was a homemaker. She says she grew up in a family of practical jokers and learned early to laugh at herself. Her family owned a cottage on a lake; the family visited every weekend except during the winter. “That is why I fell in love with water,” says Jeanette. “I learned to water ski and swim, specializing in synchronized swimming.”

Following high school, Jeanette earned a B.A. from Michigan State University, an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago and eventually an Ed.D. from the University of Memphis. She worked as secretary of the Driver Education Division, Michigan Department of Education; inventory control for Quaker Oates and Robert Bosch Corporation; and finally, twenty-five years as a professor at the University of Mississippi, retiring in 2016.

Steve says he had a happy and normal childhood. His father was an anesthesiologist, and his mother was a legal secretary and once served as secretary to the Governor of Wisconsin. Steve has worked his entire life, starting with a paper route and becoming a golf caddy.

While in high school, Steve played football and baseball but eventually realized he needed to alter his career options. He graduated from Hillsdale College with a B.S. in Business Administration. Following college, Steve taught high school mathematics for four years while also beginning a five-year racing career driving in the Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned events. After becoming the New England Region champion, Steve became an instructor. This interest led him to open a foreign car repair shop which eventually led him to be hired by the Robert Bosch Corporation in 1974. This just happened to be where a young lady by the name of Jeanette St. Claire was also working. At first, they were only friends, and then someone suggested she should consider dating Steve because he was a “teddy bear.” They were married in July 1976. 

Growing tired of ice and snow, Jeanette and Steve, along with their one-year-old daughter Andrea, moved to Memphis in 1979. This began for Steve a nineteen-year career with the Hunter Fan Company. During a vendor luncheon, he was approached with an opportunity to create a Marketing Communications Department with AOC, LLC (Alpha Corporation). In 2011, Steve retired as Director of Global Communications and Marketing Research. 

Jeanette and Steve joined the Discovery Club at Kirby Pines in 2016. However, in 2019, a serious kidney condition for Steve was diagnosed that required dialysis. Having already sold their home, the decision was made to move to Kirby Pines. They brought with them their cat Noire, who, according to Jeanette, “rules the roost.”

Since the move, Jeanette and Steve have continued many outside interests while also becoming very involved with the activities at Kirby Pines. No one could be any busier than the Martins! Much of their activity involves church. Previously as members of Holy Communion Episcopal Church, both were members of the Vestry; Steve served as an usher and stewardship chairman. Both completed the four-year Education for Ministry program. Now, as members of St. John’s Episcopal Church, they continue to be active. 

Wedding Day 1976

According to Jeanette, “Steve loves anything competitive. He believes if a score is kept, he wants to win.” Currently, this involves board games, golf, bridge, and poker. Steven also enjoys the Oasis, Men’s Saturday morning fellowship, and volunteering for the Theatre Group. He and Jeanette head up the duplicate and week-night bridge groups. Jeanette loves learning new things. In 2013, she learned to quilt, and her quilts are displayed on the Art Wall. She is now learning to quilt wool. 

As the New Year begins, the Martins are busy planning their activities for next year. Although they enjoy traveling, they also enjoy living at Kirby Pines. According to Jeanette, “We like the people and staff here and all the activities.” The Martins join me in wishing everyone a healthy and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines


If you squint your eyes, you can see 2023 on the fast-approaching horizon. It’s a time for resolutions and goals, as well as an opportunity to make sure you are incorporating all the dimensions of being and staying well. The key to embracing your greatest potential is through these seven dimensions. 

Wellness is being able to lead purpose-filled and engaged lives. By doing this, you can embrace your potential to pursue and optimize life’s possibilities. Your greatest potential lives in seven different dimensions: physical, social, spiritual, vocational, emotional, environmental, and intellectual. 

Spiritual: Finding purpose and meaning in life.
Examples: meditation, Bible Study, Church Service, Worship Service.

Vocational: Utilizing your skills, passions, and strengths to help others.
Examples: Tutoring, mentoring, volunteering, caregiving, Hobby Pines Group.

Emotional: The ability to cope with challenges and deal with feelings in a positive way.
Examples: peer counseling, stress management, humor/laughter, support groups.

Physical: Strengthening and caring for the body to stay as independent as possible.
Examples: Water Aerobics, Group Exercise, and regular doctor’s appointments.

Social: Emphasizes the importance of social interactions.
Examples: spending time with family, Game Play, Bingo, Pinecone Painters.

Environmental: Respect for natural resources and/or a strong connection to the environment.
Examples: recycling, taking walks outdoors, meditation, Garden Gro’ers.

Intellectual: Activities that stimulate and challenge the brain.
Examples: Game Play, Bunko, Mahjong, reading, puzzles.

Look at how you spend a week or month. Are you hitting all the dimensions listed above? Some of the activities you participate in, like group classes, may hit a few dimensions at once (physical and social). If there is an area that is being neglected, think about how you might set goals to include those into your routine to stay balanced. Reach out to your Functional Pathways Therapy Team to learn more about the dimensions of wellness and how to ensure you are setting yourself up for a balanced 2023. Happy New Year!

The Importance of PHYSICAL ACTIVITY for Older Adults

When it comes to staying fit, age is nothing but a number. It doesn’t matter how many candles are on your cake, exercising regularly is important. However, as the body ages, it becomes more vulnerable to things like illness, falls, or cognitive decline. Maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle can keep you feeling young, fresh, and energized well into your senior years.

Multiple studies have found that physical activity is one of the main contributors to a long life. Regular exercise can increase your quality of life and lengthen it significantly if done consistently over time.

This makes sense because exercise has always been highlighted as a top motivator for brain and body health. Among many things, physical activity keeps the heart strong, stress levels low, improves sleeping habits, and even improves memory. Longevity is the cherry on top.

Therefore, the older you get, the more useful these benefits become. But don’t worry, you don’t need to be a pro to stay fit. There are many easy and effective ways to remain strong for years to come. If you need a little extra incentive, read the following benefits of exercise for seniors.

Reduce Your Chances of Developing Illness or Disease 

Physical activity promotes blood flow, heart health, and hormone regulation, all of which are crucial for fighting back against free radicals and keeping the immune system healthy. If you have a history of illness or would like to do what you can to prevent it from occurring, exercise is one of your best bets. 

Gives You a Sense of Productivity and Purpose 

Exercise can add much-needed structure, routine, and healthy spurts of dopamine to your weekly schedule. As you age, finding activities that bring you satisfaction and purpose become integral to everyday life, and exercise is one that can bring both of those things, and more. 

Prevent Falls with Improved Mobility and Balance 

Gentle physical exercises such as stretching, yoga, strength exercise, and water aerobics can support the body in muscle development and provide you with the central stability necessary for resisting potential damage. 

Use It as an Opportunity to Make Friends 

In this phase of your life, it’s important to reach out to your community and bond with others who are sharing this unique experience called aging. Exercise is a great incentive for getting out and seeing friends, even if it’s just for a walk around the grounds. 

Get Fit in 2023!

More Control Over Weight 

Physical activity also burns calories, which can be useful if your aim is to shift weight. However, even if you are trying to gain healthy weight, exercise is still necessary for its many metabolic benefits. 

Improves Cognitive Function 

Studies have shown regular physical activity can significantly lower the risk of dementia and other cognitive or memory-affected mental diseases. The main reason for this is the increased supply of red blood cells to the brain, which promotes improved neurological speed, accuracy, and longevity. 

Good Sleep, Good Life 

Studies have found that consistent exercise is one of the most effective ways to induce healthy sleeping habits, regardless of age. When your body has been active, it becomes extra tired, affording you a more refreshing and energy-replenishing sleep. 

It’s the Year of the Rabbit at Kirby Pines

This January, we can celebrate not only the new calendar year 2023, but also the Chinese Lunar New Year 4720 – the Year of the Rabbit. Unlike western calendars, the Chinese calendar has names that are repeated every 60 years. 2023 is the year of the Water Rabbit. Beginning January 22nd (the Chinese New Year) the sign of the Rabbit is a symbol of longevity, peace and prosperity in the Chinese culture.

The year 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope, as Water can move around any obstacle, and in this case the Water Rabbit can “hop” over even the biggest of obstacles.

The Rabbit is the fourth animal sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle, and each twelve-year cycle has a different characteristic element. In Chinese five element theory, each zodiac sign is associated with one of the five elements: Gold (Metal), Wood, Water, Fire or Earth. A Water Rabbit comes once in a 60-year cycle.

The Chinese theorized that a person’s characteristics are decided by their birth year’s zodiac animal sign and element. This means there are five types of Rabbit, each with different characteristics. According to Chinese astrology, Rabbits are predicted to be gentle, quiet, elegant and alert as well as quick, skillful, kind, patient, very responsible and always faithful to those around them. Additionally, a Water Rabbit is amicable and able to adjust readily to different conditions. If you were born in 1927, 1939 or 1951, you were born in the year of the Rabbit. The last Water Rabbit was 1963.

This past year at Kirby has been filled with many accomplishments, our Marketing team is on track to yet again bring in a record breaking number of deposits and move-ins, as prospects realize the value of life care and all that Kirby Pines offers to our residents. We realized the completion of the balcony renovation project; many new LED lighting projects and of course we continue building hallway renovations. New on the horizon is the renovation of our dining venues, lobby renovations and a new healthcare center.

We can expect many new accomplishments in 2023. So please have the patience of the Rabbit, as we remain faithful to you in completing the many projects to improve the overall community for your enjoyment and benefit.

Wishing you happiness, prosperity, and a Happy New Year. 


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines