10,000th Game of Pool

The Billiards Group at Kirby Pines recently played their 10,000th game. Watch the video below!

The Future of Wellness… Virtual Reality

VR (Virtual Reality) is where it’s at – the newest and latest technology is being hailed as a fun and interactive way to exercise, escape, relax, travel, and even participate in group activities. 

There are multiple platforms available that offer everything from guided meditation to hip-hop and other forms of dancing, to spa treatments and traveling (virtually) to favorite/desired destinations. Virtual Reality can be highly therapeutic and impact physical, mental, and social well-being. 

VR has been shown to have a myriad of benefits to users; some of the most notable benefits include: 

Mental Stimulation

Virtual Reality systems allow for a multitude of different uses, activities, etc. This includes things like activities for attention, memory, math, and other cognitive activities. 

Enhanced Socialization

Virtual Reality can be used as a tool to encourage socialization. For example, multiple users can interact with the same movie or participate in the same events and share their experiences with one another, thus promoting socialization. 

Reduced Depression

Many people, especially in today’s somewhat isolated environment, experience feelings of depression or loneliness. The ability to “travel”, interact and experience new places, even virtually, can impact someone’s mood and overall feelings of content. 

A Therapeutic Effect

Movement is life! Just getting people to increase their movement, activity, and engagement levels can have a positive, therapeutic effect on overall well-being. 

Besides offering a fun and interactive activity, Virtual Reality users report a decrease in feelings of stress, increased relaxation, and better overall mood. VR has also been hailed as a drug-free solution to many stress/anxiety-induced conditions. 

In summary, Virtual Reality may be part of a solution in helping to stay active and engaged. With options for all fitness, functional, and mobility levels, virtual reality will likely play a major role now and in future for maintaining and improving all 7 dimensions of wellness. 

If you would like to learn more about what Virtual Reality options might be right for you, or how Virtual Reality can help to increase activity and engagement, feel free to reach out to Eric Walker, our Director of Rehabilitation at 901.366.1819. 

Jen Callahan, Clinical Outcomes and Reimbursement Specialist, Functional Pathways

Energize! Simple Ways to Revitalize

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 your exercise class today: I have too much to do.” Rather than I’m too tired to do anything.” The Arthritis Foundation recently printed an article with some great tips to boost your energy level and restore that happy, vibrant 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 sweater can improve your mood and alertness. 

6. Listen to good music. Irish folk music with fiddles and accordions is quite invigorating. 

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 one of the exercise classes that are available Monday through Friday to help with stretching, cardio, exercise and strengthening. Join the Line Dancers or Ballroom Dancers. The Oasis exercise room never closes, and we encourage you to have a workout partner. 

Always Making a Difference at Kirby Pines

The beginning of the fall season is a great time to reflect on the variety of events we enjoyed during the summer months and to anticipate those ahead. And what better way to begin than by acknowledging the International Day of the Older Person, October 1st. Designated by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1990, all countries are encouraged to enable men and women to age with dignity and to integrate aging issues into everyday life. Kirby Pines is a daily example of doing just this. Also, to be celebrated the first day of October is International Coffee Day, and as a somewhat avid coffee drinker, I may just go out for breakfast on Saturday to experience more than my home brewed coffee. 

This month we also celebrate: National Custodial Worker’s Day, October 2nd. This day is set aside for us to thank the numerous employees that maintain the overall appearance of our beautiful community; the week of October 2nd -8th is National Health Care Food Service Week, this group of employees are an essential part of our integrated lifecare services. 

Please join your fellow residents in thanking these individual employees for the time they dedicate to make a difference in your life. Along this same thought, October 22nd is Make a Difference Day – and we all have the ability to do something small that makes a difference. Let’s make sure we start the fall season by making a positive difference at Kirby Pines Lifecare Community. 

If you’re looking for a new experience, don’t forget to join in on the fun of a tethered hot air balloon ride during our annual Fall Festival late this month. And if you are looking forward to a truly gastronomical experience, be sure to make reservations for the last Exquisite Cuisine meal of this year on October 27th.


Michael Escamilla,
Executive Director,
Kirby Pines

Reflections by Maxie Dunnam

It is no happenstance that Paul wrote the largest portion of the New Testament. I am convinced that he is the person who knew Christ best. Believing that, our potential for knowing Christ is enhanced. Like us, Paul did not know Jesus in the flesh. With a note of sadness, he referred to himself as “one untimely born.” His was an experience of faith, as ours must be. Yet there is no doubt about it – Paul knew Christ, and we can know him as well. 

It’s all a matter of grace.

The Apostle Paul, c. 1657, Rembrandt

Grace is the heart-core of the Gospel. Paul is rather dogmatic in stating that: “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” (Eph. 2:8) In his gospel, John states it more expansively, identifying grace with who Jesus is. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth….. From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:14,16 NIV) 

Even a bit of reflection on these three verses of Scripture makes it obvious that grace is important. In our understanding and living the Christian faith nothing is more important. 

It’s all grace!

-Maxie Dunnam  

Congratulations to Our Employee of the Month

Michael Warren

Maintenance Tech

Describe your family: Loving, open-hearted, caring and fun to be around.

Describe yourself in five words: Hardworking, funny, laidback type of guy.

What do you do for fun: Watch movies and sleep.

What is your favorite thing about your job: Money and the people I work with each day.

What is your favorite food: Pork Chops.

What is something you are proud of: My daughter.

What would you like people to know about you: I enjoy having fun.

Michael Warren is a valued member of the maintenance team. He is always there to help, and gets the job done in a timely and professional manner. In the years he has been with me I’ve come to respect his expertise and knowledge. We all feel lucky to have him on the team. Way to go Mikey!

– Chuck Neeley, Director of Maintenance

Ballroom Dancing at Kirby Pines!

Ballroom dance is a global activity practiced by all age groups. One such group is seniors who find ballroom dancing not only fun, but also great for their physical, mental and social health. If you have never considered ballroom dance as a potential pastime, take the time to review the following benefits of ballroom dance.


While often rigorous, ballroom dance can be easily tailored to those that require a lower impact physical activity. A variety of dances can be practiced and performed at a slower pace and intensity, more attuned to your needs. This allows you to make the most of ballroom dance’s health benefits, including improved muscle and bone strength, while lowering the risk of injury or exhaustion. Moreover, the improved posture, balance and motor skills encouraged by ballroom dancing can help prevent falls and other accidents.


In addition to the cardiovascular and strength benefits of ballroom dance, recent studies have pointed to a link between the practice of dance and the prevention of disease. While reasons remain difficult to identify, researchers speculate that the increased mental activity required in ballroom dance– such as step memorization and accounting for a partner– may help prevent symptoms experienced by sufferers of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and even chronic heart failure. 


While many activities suffer from high drop out rates, ballroom dance counteracts this by being a fun, interactive experience. Social activity is also an important factor in the mental health and attitude, and ballroom dance is, at its core, a social activity. Not only can ballroom dancing be done almost anywhere with almost no equipment, but it is at its best when done with other people. Ballroom dance is of course great for couples looking for something new; it also makes it easy for individuals to make new friends, as most dances require partners. 

Join us each Wednesday at 2:00 pm in the Performing Arts Center with Dance Instructors, Desiree McCain and Richard Bishop.

Resident Spotlight: Cheryl Johnson


Cheryl Johnson became a part of our lives when she married our former and beloved Chaplain Don Johnson in May 2005. Always an extension of Don’s ministries, Cheryl continues today toward the goal she and Don shared, “to finish well.” Cheryl’s caring and positive nature reflect a life of success in having attained both personal and spiritual growth. 

Cheryl’s parents, Terry and Bobbi Stigall, and two older siblings, moved to midtown Memphis when she was a young girl. This allowed Cheryl to attend what she considered “great schools” in the area: Idlewild Elementary, Fairview Junior and Central High. The family became members of Union Avenue Methodist Church. Music and dance lessons were offered; however, Cheryl says that she was “tone deaf” and music lessons stopped. She found her love in athletics, and according to her, “To say I was a tomboy would be an understatement!” She played softball and basketball in the beginning but later added golf, biking, and tennis. 

In her senior year of high school, Cheryl transferred to White Station High and discovered acting. Her involvement in athletics, dancing and acting has continued throughout her adult life as evidenced by her current membership with the Kirby Pines Line Dancers and Ham’ateurs Group.

Cheryl chose to attend Florida International University in Miami and earned a degree in Finance. She was given the opportunity to join Citibank’s Management Training Program. Out of a class of twenty-five, there were only three women! She worked in several departments including Private and Corporate Banking, Training, and Public Relations before being selected for a new program in which bankers were trained and licensed to sell and manage investment portfolios. Cheryl says, “It was an ‘eye-opener’ to work for an international organization with colleagues from all over the world. Since I was from Memphis, everyone wanted to know about Elvis. They thought I surely must have known him.” 

According to Cheryl, “I have been blessed to have been married to two wonderful men. While living in Miami, I met and married Steven Waters, a banker, civic leader, and devout Christian. Steve practiced the teachings in James 2:24 that ‘Faith without works is dead.’ Following his unexpected death in 1991, so many shared how their life had been greatly influenced by him. Most of his work was done privately, and even I didn’t know all his acts of kindness and generosity. 

In 2000, Cheryl retired early and moved back to Memphis to be near her mother after her father passed away. In 2004, her mother, Bobbi Stigall, moved to Kirby Pines. It was at a Vespers service that Cheryl re-connected with Chaplain Don Johnson—and the rest is history! They were married in a private ceremony in the Chapel at Christ Methodist Church, where Cheryl maintains her membership. 

“It was a new world,” admits Cheryl, “being married to a pastor/chaplain who had lived his entire life in Memphis where everyone seemed to know and love him. Don was a man who had devoted his life to serving God. He knew he wanted to preach and teach God’s word since he was eight years old. It was such an honor to serve with Don at Kirby Pines and also with his Bible study group, Afterglow, Life Choices, and the National Religious Broadcasters Organization.” 

As chaplain at Kirby Pines, Don visited and checked on those residents who were ill or in need of prayer. He also conducted the Sunday 10:00 am religious services in the PAC as well as in the health care areas on Sunday afternoon, always assisted by Cheryl. Together, Don and Cheryl were a great team! Sadly, Don passed away on September 24, 2021, following an extended illness. 

Cheryl says that she has been fortunate to be able to travel to many places during her lifetime. “My parents introduced me to the joys of travel, and that has continued throughout my adulthood.” There have been cruises to Hawaii, Alaska, and the Mediterranean, but also notable adventures such as attending the Vancouver World’s Fair and seeing the Royals, riding a donkey down the Grand Canyon, horseback riding in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, skiing in Park City, Utah, are among unique experiences of a lifetime. However, for Cheryl, the most memorable was the trip to the Holy Land and Egypt in 1987. 

Cheryl at 8 Years Old

Currently, Cheryl continues her ministry with Remember That Someone Cares, which is focused on remembering residents in the health care areas on their birthdays. She also keeps in touch with residents who are ill or in need of prayer and keeps others informed with emails and a published, weekly prayer list. She attends the Thursday morning Bible class and is learning to play Mahjong. “I especially enjoy walking around the beautiful grounds of Kirby,” says Cheryl. 

Cheryl has this to say about her current life: “Kirby Pines is truly a family affair as my sister, Diane Talarico, moved here in 2017. Don and I became residents in 2019, and I’m especially grateful we were here during COVID and Don’s illness. As I have often said, the very best thing about Kirby is the people—where so many are kind, thoughtful, compassionate, and caring, not to mention talented. 

Thank you, Cheryl, for sharing your story and for being such an excellent role model for all who desire to “finish well”. 

Written by Joan Dodson, Resident, Kirby Pines

There’s More To It Than Meets the Air: BREATHING

We breathe in, we breathe out, usually without even thinking about it. Most of us probably take it for granted and overlook all the benefits mindful, conscious breathing can bring to our daily lives. 

Did you know??

  • Breathing is the only bodily function you can perform consciously as well as unconsciously.
  • The average person takes about 8.5 million breaths per year.
  • Breathing slowly with longer breaths can reduce food cravings.
  • The world record for breath holding is over 24 minutes!!
  • Emotions are regulated by how you breathe.
  • Everyone can improve how they breathe.

Considering the monumental number of breaths we take, ensuring they are as effective as possible is important to everything we do. Outside of supplying oxygen, effective breathing provides better food digestion, increased immune response, reduced stress and blood pressure, better sleep and mental clarity, pain relief, increased energy, and improved balance, just to name a few! 

To determine if you are a “good” breather or a “poor” breather, try this:

  • Put your right hand on your chest and your left hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath as you count to three. When you do this, which hand do you feel moving the most?
  • If it’s your right hand (the one on your chest), you’re breathing from your chest. If it’s your left hand (the one on your stomach), you are breathing from your abdomen. You want to do the latter— breathe from your abdomen. 

No matter what your activity level, even if you are relaxing in the chair watching your favorite program, take a few minutes 3-4 times a day to be conscious of your breathing and try this exercise:

  1. Sit or stand comfortably with your back straight.
  2. Open the palm of one hand as wide as you can.
  3. Now with the pointer finger of the opposite hand, slowly trace your fingers while breathing.
  4. Breath in and trace up one side of your thumb, 1, 2, 3. Breathe out and trace down the other side of your thumb, 1, 2, 3.
  5. Repeat for all five fingers.

If you would like to learn more about how to utilize this and other effective breathing techniques, feel free to reach out to Eric Walker, Director of Rehabilitation at 901-366-1819. 

Get the Facts About Exercising Myths

“It is what it is.” That’s what my brother always says when a problem arises. It’s his excuse to avoid facing a difficult situation. Too often we just accept our conditions without looking at options that could actually benefit us. Avoiding exercise is an example. Here is a list of some of the most common myths about exercise and aging:

Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway. 

Fact: Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity. 

Myth 2: Older people shouldn’t exercise. They should save their strength and rest. 

Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for adults over 50. Inactivity often causes older adults to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses. 

Myth 3: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down. 

Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling. 

Myth 4: It’s too late. I’m already too old to start exercising. 

Fact: You’re never too old to exercise! If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities. 

Myth 5: I’m disabled. I can’t exercise sitting down. 

Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health. 

Fact: Check with your medical provider before beginning a new exercise program if you have been inactive. 

At Kirby Pines we have many exercise options with a variety of exercise classes from the sit/stand class to water aerobics to Yoga Stretch. Check our schedule and see what works for you. The Oasis has free weights and 10 different machines to build strength and endurance. 

The Serenity Prayer [God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference] reminds me at times we really don’t have to accept, “It is, what it is.” Just maybe “what it is” isn’t what it could be.