Exercise is the Key to Healthy Aging

Healthy Aging at Kirby Pines

Starting or maintaining a regular exercise routine can be a challenge as you get older. You may feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls. Or, if you’ve never exercised before, you may not know where to begin. Or perhaps you think you’re too old or frail, or that exercise is boring or simply not for you.

While these may seem like good reasons to slow down and take it easy as you age, they’re actually even better reasons to get moving. Exercise can energize your mood, relieve stress, help you manage symptoms of illness and pain, and improve your overall sense of well-being. In fact, exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy as you get older. And it can even be fun, too.

No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. Reaping the rewards of exercise doesn’t require strenuous workouts or trips to the gym. It’s about adding more movement and activity to your life, even in small ways. Whether you are generally healthy or are managing an illness – even if you’re housebound – there are many easy ways to get your body moving and improve your health. {Excerpts from HELPGUIDE.org}

We are here to help. The Oasis is always open. Our equipment is user-friendly and more instruction is available if you need it. We offer exercise classes five days a week as well as line dancing. We have more than two miles of hallways and over a mile of landscaped trails outside for walking.

Our Walk with Ease program is back for the fall session; a great opportunity to begin an exercise program. Register now for the class, we will limit the class size to 15. This is what the class can do for you: Improved balance, strength, and endurance. If you have been out of the exercise habit and desire to get back, and you can walk 10 minutes, or if you are looking for an enjoyable way to exercise, this class may be for you. Register with Lavada in the Activities Office or Mary in the Oasis. Our first class begins Tuesday, September 11 at 1:30 pm in the Arts & Crafts room, and runs for 9 weeks. “Graduates” are welcome, bring a friend. Make plans to join us in September.

Resident Spotlight: Juanita Smith


Juanita Smith

Juanita Smith (née Radcliff) was crowned Miss Wayne County of West Virginia, twice during her years of high school. Today, 87 years later, that same beauty, the sparkling eyes and the beautiful smile is still seen when looking into the face of Juanita, now 101 years old! If not for the effects of a recent stroke, one could expect to see Juanita do the Charleston, the dance she became famous for after moving to Kirby Pines.

Juanita is as beautiful now
as she was back then.

On this, the 35th anniversary of Kirby Pines Estates, we celebrate the life of Juanita Smith who has lived at Kirby Pines longer than any other resident – 29 and a half years! Having good genes (her father lived to be 102) has no doubt been a factor in her longevity. However, she exemplifies the research that individuals living in a retirement setting tend to live longer. Juanita’s eyes light up when she remembers the good times she has had while living at Kirby Pines. While her husband Charles was living, the couple captured the dance floor as they reportedly were the best Charleston dancing couple in Memphis, or, maybe the world. She enjoyed teaching other residents how to “hula-hoop”. She also enjoyed line dancing, Tai Chi, all kinds of games, the puzzle table and most of all just socializing with her friends.

Juanita and her husband, Charles, moved to Memphis in 1984 to be near their daughter, Linda. They made the decision to move to Kirby Pines in February, 1989 and entrenched themselves in the activities of Kirby Pines. They placed their church membership at Central Church.

So, what was life like for Juanita, growing up in a small community of West Virginia? Born on October 10, 1916, Juanita was one of nine children. She remembers her childhood as a happy time although times were difficult for the family. Work was scarce but her father was able to find three to four days of work each week on the railroad. Her mother canned all summer and Juanita remembers her favorite was the pickled corn and the sauerkraut available in the winter months. Her mother was a loving and compassionate person, always setting up a table on the back porch and placing food there for the “hobos”. Christmas was always a big event. All nine children received a gift, the girls always getting a doll with “a big, hard head”.

After finishing high school in 1934, Juanita worked briefly in a dime store and a beauty parlor. However, her father insisted she live at home and discouraged her working outside the home.

Charles and Juanita
Charles and Juanita in
the fall of 1987

On April 14, 1938, Juanita married Charles Smith. Charles worked as a presser in a glass factory. West Virginia is well known for its “glass houses” and beautiful glassware. A year later, Juanita gave birth to her only child, Linda. Juanita’s lifetime career centered around being a mother and homemaker.

Today Juanita Smith resides in the Gallery Manor at Kirby Pines. Her husband, Charles, died in 2007. Her daughter, Linda Sprague lives in Memphis in another retirement community. In addition, Juanita has two grandchildren, two great grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. Her grandson Jonathan and his wife Connie, visit Juanita often.

Juanita loves to have company and reminisce about the good times at Kirby Pines. She enjoys all of the entertainment programs that are provided in The Manor. She especially looks forward to the visits of her great-grandchildren from Florida.

Hopefully, we will all remember the important date of October 10, 2018, when the big 102 will be celebrated!

All in all, a life well-lived and remembered.

Keeping Your Mind and Body Active

As we get older, the deterioration of the mind and body is unavoidable. It’s just part of the aging process. Some people, however, experience more severe symptoms of aging than others do. No matter how healthy your body is, your mind can still begin to have those “senior moments.” If you want to keep your mind healthy as you age, you have to keep it active. For seniors, staying active can not only help to prolong life, but it can offer a better quality of life as well. With exercise, the two go hand-in-hand. Whether you want to become more physically active or more mentally active, staying active, in general, will help both your body and mind feel energized and engaged.

Keeping ActiveHere are a couple ways to keep your mind and body active. Move your body. As mentioned before, exercising is not only good for your body, but for your mind as well. Exercise is a social activity for many, especially with all of the group exercises that are provided. This helps one stay motivated and engaged in the activity. Exercise also improves your mood by releasing mood-boosting endorphins, which can help lessen the feelings of depression. Exercise increases mental capacity, and physical activity has been directly linked to slowing the process of mental decline. When you are physically active, every part of your body, including the brain, receives more blood flow. Blood flow encourages cell growth. Exercise also improves healing. The healing process takes longer as we age, but exercise can help. Active adults have wounds that heal as much as 25 percent faster than those who do not exercise.

Eat Well at Kirby PinesEat well. Proper nutrition is incredibly important for seniors, for both physical and mental health. If you’re not eating enough of the proper vitamins and minerals, the lack of nutrients can affect brain function. If you’re not eating enough calories, you will have less energy with which to use your body and brain. Make sure you eat well – healthy and regularly. Engage your senses. Using all of your senses really helps exercise your brain in a variety of different ways, so try to use all your senses as much as possible. Stop to smell the flowers – literally – or try to pick out the ingredients of food by their smell.

Keep learning. You’re never too old to learn. Learning new things will help keep your mind active and sharp. Challenge your brain. Challenging your brain is extremely important to keep a sharp mind. Instead of just learning, you should also be challenging yourself to exercise your knowledge and problem-solving skills. Sleep well. For people at any age, sleep is essential for proper mental functioning. Be sure to get enough sleep at night, and make sure it’s quality sleep, too.

As you can see, there are plenty of simple ways to keep your mind and body active. It is interesting to know that the body and mind go hand and hand. Now as you exercise or do any of the activities above you know that you are keeping your mind and body active.

Kirby Pines 35th Anniversary

I Love Kirby Pines
For our 35th Anniversary, we asked our residents to tell us what they love most about Kirby Pines.

The response was tremendous, so take a look and see what your neighbors have to say about your community!

I love the feeling of family and having many good friends, however, I love most of all the opportunity to re-invent myself through all the various activities available at Kirby Pines.”
– Joan D.

From the minute I moved into Kirby Pines it became a very special home to me.”
– Nita H.

I love Kirby Pines because of the wonderful people here, staff & residents.”
– Patty R.

I love the feelings of safety and security as I enter the gates, knowing that I am among those who care about me.”
– Gail W.

As new residents we have found lots to love about Kirby Pines- the beautiful lake and green space, the social activities, Friday night music in the lobby, security; but most of all the people, the staff and residents who are kind and caring making Kirby Pines a wonderful community.”
– Walter & Sandra O.

I love Kirby Pines as its employees are friendly, warm, pleasant, good-natured, offering a variety of activities, good food making, it’s a great place to live!”
– Bob F.

I love mealtime. The food is delicious. I don’t have to cook or clean up. We get to enjoy the company of others.”
– Marilyn M.

I love the comfortable feeling of home with security and friendships, medical care, activities and excellent food and dining service.”
– Nell M.

You can read plenty more quotes from our fabulous Kirby Pines family in the September issue of The Pinecone.

Happy Anniversary Kirby Pines

The month of September is significant to many people for many different reasons. September marks the beginning of the school year, so for many of our retired teachers living here at Kirby Pines, it is a time to reflect back on the years of service they gave to so many students. For others, September signifies the end of summer and time to celebrate Labor Day. September for Kirby Pines is significant because it is the month we celebrate our anniversary.

Thirty-five years of service to senior adults is truly a feat that could not have happened without the support of residents and their families, employees and our Board of Directors. These three elements make up the team that allows Kirby Pines to rank among the largest and more successful lifecare retirement communities in the country. To celebrate this thirty-fifth anniversary, much work and effort has been put into this year’s Lighting of the Lake ceremony. Each year a theme and color is selected; the theme of this year is forward, and the color is coral. Both the theme and color are certain to add a feeling of warmth within our hearts and a smile to everyone’s face. Coral is said to signify wisdom and nurtures development. Perhaps that is why it is the traditional color and gift for a 35th wedding anniversary.

The theme “forward” represents the future for Kirby Pines and the mission of service to retirees. Recently I came across this saying:

It takes strength to be firm
It takes courage to be gentle
It takes strength to fit in
It takes courage to stand out
It takes strength to stand still It takes courage to move forward”

Happy Anniversary, Kirby Pines!

My Name is Joe

Changing a tire

We are all taking daily steps on life’s journey. Some days are good; other days fall short. Amidst the ups and downs, we wonder what we can really be doing. The following story about “Joe” illustrates a valuable lesson about caring and giving even through hard times.

Joe was driving home one evening on a two-lane country road. He’d been searching for a job with little success. Joe had been unemployed since the local clothing factory had closed, and things were really getting tight.

It was a lonely road, and he almost didn’t see the elderly lady stranded on the side of the road. Even in the twilight, he could see she needed help. He pulled up by her Mercedes and stopped.

He knew he frightened her. He knew he didn’t look safe. He tried to set her mind at ease. “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Joe.”

All she had was a flat tire, and Joe fixed it quickly even though he scraped his knuckles a few times trying to locate the jack under the car. The woman asked Joe how much she owed him. She had already imagined all the terrible things that could have happened had he not stopped to help her. But Joe never thought twice about the money. This was not a job to him. It was helping someone in need. He refused the money, thinking how many times people had given him a hand. Joe told the lady that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Joe added, “…and think of me.”

The woman drove off and a few miles down the road saw a small cafe where she could get a bit to eat. It was a dingy place, but she went inside.

Her waitress came over and brought her a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. The lady noticed the waitress was about eight months pregnant, but she never seemed to let the strain and aches change her attitude. She had a sweet smile, and the woman wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Joe.

After the woman finished her meal and the waitress went to get change for a $100 bill, the woman slipped out the door. She left a note on the napkin, which brought tears to the waitress’ eyes when she read it. “Keep the change. You don’t owe me a thing. I’ve been there, too. Someone once helped me out the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, don’t let the chain of love end with you.”

Monetary TipThat night when the waitress got home from work, she climbed into bed. She was thinking about the money and what the woman had written. How could she have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard. She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Joe.”

On our journey there are many things we can do that won’t cost us a thing. They may not bring immediate return, at least not to the level we need at the moment. But traveling the journey with care and love is so important. At times a need arises that interrupt our usual activity. Too often we rush past these interruptions. If we notice someone who needs our help, we pass by. We’re late…or too busy…or think we need help more than the other person. We think, “Let someone else help them” or “Let them help themselves.” But if we stop…if we help even when we have so little…it will enrich us with inner gratitude that we’ve gone beyond the limited circle of ourselves, and it will touch others at seeing they are noticed, valued and provided for in difficult times and situations. And sooner or later our selfless actions will reap a surprising reward. When our motives are right the outcome can be unexpectedly great! Now is the time! Are we looking? Are we stopping? Are we helping?

Hebrews 6:10 says it so well. “God is fair. He will not forget the work you did and the love you showed for him by helping his people. And he will remember that you are still helping them.”

Resident Spotlight: Ken Lewis

Greatest Generation Exemplified

Ken Lewis

The curtain opens: A handsome man dressed in wedding attire enters the stage to marry (for the fourth time!) his stage sweetheart. Ken Lewis is the groom. When he is not actively involved in a skit for the Kirby Pines Ham-ateur Club, Ken is backstage operating the curtains. To those who know Ken, his sense of humor is one of his most endearing qualities.

All is not fun and games, however. Since moving from Collierville to Kirby Pines in 2008, Ken has volunteered to use his management and people skills in various organizations which benefit the residents of Kirby Pines. For example, Ken served one term as President of the Kirby Pines Resident Association and one term on the Advisor’s Committee (now serving as Wing Leader). He was selected as King of Kirby Pines for one year and is currently a member of The Ambassador Group for the Marketing Department. Although he is not actively dancing with the Kirby Pines Line Dancers, he remains with the group in an assisting role.

Ken in the Air Force
Ken in the Air Force, 1951

So, what kind of background produced such a giving person? Like many of his age group, known as the “Greatest Generation”, Ken’s life was shaped by involvement in two wars. With that involvement came the realization of the important things in life. This is Ken’s story:
Kenneth (Ken) Lewis was born on July 11, 1922 in Golden, Colorado. Shortly after, his family moved back to their family ranch in Sweetwater, Texas. The ranch was a beef cattle ranch and Ken earned enough money showing calves in the 4-H Club to pay for three years of college.

Ken graduated from high school in 1940 and enrolled in Texas Tech University. Like most young men at that time, Ken enrolled in the Army Air Corp Reserves. Because of WWII, Ken was called to active duty and spent the next year in flight training. He graduated in 1944 and was ordered to troop carrier units in England, France, and Puerto Rico. Their mission was to re-supply combat troops, tow gliders, drop paratroopers, evacuate the wounded and transport troops. At the end of WWII, Ken returned to Texas Tech and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.

After graduation, Ken had a three-year career as a county agricultural agent. However, in 1951, he was again called to active duty and served in the US Air Force for two years. Ken says that the most momentous occasion in that assignment was meeting a US Navy nurse, Ensign Jean Sauer, on her first day of duty. The relationship blossomed even though their tour of duties meant both time and distance apart. They were married in 1955 after they were discharged from the Air Force and Navy.
Returning to civilian life, Ken was employed by the National Cottonseed Products Association as a field representative, retiring after 34 years as the Executive Vice President. The business had moved the Lewis family from Dallas, Texas to Memphis in 1969. His work required extensive travel not only in the US, but to the Soviet Union, Europe, Egypt, China, Japan, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Iran. A world traveler, indeed.

Ken celebrates Christmas at Kirby Pines with his family
Ken celebrates Christmas at Kirby Pines with his daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in 2015

Ken and Jean had two daughters and a son who died in infancy. Jean passed away n 2000. Ken now has three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and a soon-to-be granddaughter-in-law.

Christ the King Lutheran Church was a cornerstone for the Lewis family. Both Jean and Ken were very active in various organizations in the church. Ken remains an active member there.

A good friend of Ken’s has described him as a good man who is willing to help anyone he can. That pretty well sums up the nature of Ken Lewis.

On pretty days you can find Ken at Fox Meadows Golf Course where, according to him, he mostly shoots his age.

The Importance of Dental Health

Dental HealthAs we age there are some things that we tend to let fall by the wayside. Dental health seems to be one of the personal hygiene steps that can be forgotten. Since dental health is connected to whole-body health, it’s important to keep oral health a priority. Senior dental problems can be common and since oral health directly impacts the health of the rest of the body, these issues need to be taken seriously. Taking care of elderly teeth and gums is just as important as digestive or heart health.

Teeth Brushing Some reasons why senior dental health is so important are that research has shown a connection between gum disease and heart disease. Maintaining good oral hygiene is a powerful weapon against heart attacks, strokes, and other heart disease conditions. Poor oral health has been linked to pneumonia in older adults. By breathing in bacterial droplets from the mouth to the lungs, seniors are more susceptible to the condition. Good oral hygiene is a good way to combat these bacteria. Gum disease is caused by plaque and food left in our teeth, in addition to the use of tobacco products, unhealthy diets, poor fitting bridges and dentures, and diseases like anemia, cancer, and diabetes. Gum disease can instigate tooth loss and can be very serious for overall health as it has been linked to many problems in the body.

Why Would I Bother to Exercise?

Exercise at Kirby Pines

Get energized, control weight, improve balance, strengthen muscles, soothe nerves, reduce pain and improve health are just a few of the reasons to add exercise into your regular routine.

Each session of exercise stimulates some form of change in every body system including reducing the negative effects of arthritis and protection from symptoms of other chronic diseases. The CDC recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate level exercise like brisk walking to benefit your health and help prevent disease. Dr. Zhen Yan, professor of medicine reports that his research shows exercise can prevent and even reverse the damage of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease as well as arthritis. Exercise improves circulation and removes cellular waste; essentially “Exercise takes out the trash.” Exercise reduces levels of proteins in the blood that cause inflammation that result in painful swollen joints, improving function and reducing pain.

Exercise actually does produce more energy by increasing the cells that create energy at the individual cell level, improving circulation and empowering brain and muscle cells. So on those days when you feel so-o-o tired, walking, yoga, and water aerobics are gentle to moderate exercises that can boost your energy level.

Exercise improves balance by improving communication between joints and brain. Tai Chi‘s slow controlled movements promote “motor learning” improving smooth and precise motions. Strengthening core muscles helps improve balance.

Aerobic exercise (vigorous walking and water aerobics) strengthens the heart muscle and keeps the circulation flowing through healthier veins and arteries. Better circulation means better oxygen flow to cells in the brain, organs, and muscles. Stronger muscle cells help the heart to pump more powerfully and more efficiently. Keeping arteries and veins more elastic will prevent arterial stiffening and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Weight-bearing exercise (walking and strength training) keeps joints healthy: In other words, the muscle acts as a natural brace. Strengthening core muscles helps support the back, reducing back pain. Stronger muscles absorb the normal jarring of weight-bearing exercise by nourishing and thickening the cartilage inside the joints.

Rhythmic exercises (line dancing and walking) soothe the nerves while producing natural hormones called endorphins that give a happy feeling which helps relieve depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

Prove it for yourself. Join one of the many exercise classes or use the equipment in the Oasis available here at Kirby Pines. It is worth the bother.

Get Ready to Walk with Ease

Walk with Ease at Kirby PinesWalk with Ease Class is coming back. Register now for the class, we will limit the class size to 15. This is what the class can do for you: Improved balance, strength, and endurance. If you have been out of the exercise habit and desire to get back, and you can walk 10 minutes, or if you are looking for an enjoyable way to exercise, this class may be for you. Register with Lavada in the activities office or Mary in the Oasis. Our first class begins Tuesday, September 11 in the Arts & Crafts room, and runs for 9 weeks.

Always A Celebration at Kirby Pines

In just one month Kirby Pines will be celebrating the 35th anniversary of opening our doors to provide our residents with a warm and gracious environment, by hosting the annual Lighting of the Lake ceremony. And while the ceremony is a grand celebration, at Kirby Pines, it is one of many celebrations held throughout the year. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, sporting events, national and religious holidays, the list can seem exhausting at times; and some may wonder if we celebrate too much or not enough.

The fact is, we celebrate because it is important to recognize personal milestones, such as someone’s 100th birthday or 60th wedding anniversary, or 10th year on the job. We celebrate to acknowledge the start of something new, such as the Bistro, renovation of Ivy Pointe, a grand new boulevard entrance. And we celebrate when we all achieve a goal, such as zero-deficiency survey for the Gallery Manor, and being named “The Best” in the Commercial Appeal’s Memphis Most Award.

Celebrating helps us to mark a time of happiness that resulted from hard work, commitment from many and the support of even more. Whatever we want to change or achieve or have more of – be it health, fitness, or romance – success lies at the heart of it. The photo of the first residents of Kirby Pines that hangs in the Bistro is a reminder of those successful retirees that believed in our mission and dedication to service and who sought to celebrate their own successful careers by moving into one of Memphis’ first LifeCare communities. The smiles on their faces, welcome us to join in with their first year celebration, be motivated and to have a share in their success.

So get ready to celebrate again, as we create another wonderful experience with great food and great company!