Get Some Fresh Air

As spring slowly makes her appearance and the temperature begins to rise, it’s time to get outside for some fresh air. Instead of being cooped up indoors, take a walk outside it’s a great way to keep your distance while also taking in everything that nature has to offer this time of year.

Nearby Bangor City Forest and Orono Bog Walk

Just down the road from Dirigo Pines is the Bangor City Forest and Orono Bog Walk.

The Bog Walk is a 1-mile boardwalk loop that begins at the forested wetland edge in the Bangor City Forest, and after 800 feet crosses the Orono town line into the portion of the Orono Bog owned by the University of Maine. Along the way the boardwalk passes through a wide range of changing vegetation and environments on its way to the open, peat moss carpeted center of the Orono Bog.

It’s a fascinating and educational walk, allowing visitors to observe the colorful bog, its tranquil beauty and the amazing plants and animals that call the bog home. Look for pitcher plants along the Bog Walk, in bloom throughout the summer. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, luring insects into a cavity in the middle of the plant. Signs with illustrations help visitors spot interesting plant and animal life along the way. 

The Bog Walk is set to open May 1. The boardwalk is a wheelchair-friendly facility, and benches for rest and contemplation are provided at least every 200 feet. Please note that dogs are not permitted on the Bog Walk.

Can’t wait? You can enjoy the Bangor City Forest any time of year. The Rolland F. Perry City Forest includes 680 acres of wildlife habitat and forest, offering more than 9 miles of trails for walking, hiking, biking, and during the winter – snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Dogs are welcome in many areas, but must be on a leash at all times, per city ordinance, on Main Road, Shannon Road, Tripp Drive, and East Trail.

The forest is accessible via Kittredge Road and Tripp Drive. The Tripp Drive entrance is just 4 minutes from Dirigo Pines. Click here for directions. 

It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L) Technology

Memory Care at The Arbor at Dirigo Pines offers an innovative approach for those with memory impairments, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. The challenges presented by memory loss can be difficult to navigate, but we’re here to help every step of the way. Our Village Program offers personalized programming that engages residents in activities that may reflect their former schedules, lifestyles and interests while helping them feel safe and appreciated.

One unique feature of our Memory Care program is It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L), an easy-to-use technology designed specifically for seniors to encourage resident activity without the frustration. Simple computer touch-screens help residents stay engaged and connected, with more than 4,000 programs to choose from that include cognitive and therapy activities, games, spiritual content and family interactions through Skype and sharing slideshows and photo albums.

Families can build personalized pages for their loved ones, with their favorite games, songs, TV shows, family photos, and more. Video calls with family members make staying in touch easy, regardless of where you live.

Click here to learn more about this unique technology, or call us for more information about our Memory Care neighborhood. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com for more information.

Things to Do While Social Distancing

Social distancing may be the best thing to do right now, but it can also leave you feeling a bit stir-crazy. Here are a few things you can do to curb the boredom and stay safe…

Take a Walk

Thankfully, there’s more sun shining every day and green buds are starting to appear. While spring can be a little slow to arrive in Maine, take advantage of these warmer days to get outside and get some fresh air. Take in the budding trees and occasional wildlife. Going for a walk is great way to add some movement to your day while keeping your distance from others.

Connect Online

A virtual happy hour with friends or story time with the grandkids is a great way to stay connected. There are lots of free online ways to connect, including FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and more. These programs are simple to use and a great way to chat with friends and family while maintaining your distance.

Spring Cleaning

Tis the season for cleaning and right now it’s more important than ever. According to the CDC, practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, like tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets and sinks with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Make Some Music – Or Listen Online

If you’re a musician, now’s a great time to play — or if you’ve always wanted to learn, why not now? YouTube is full of free tutorials for every instrument imaginable, and many music teachers are going online to teach. Just love listening? Dig through your record or CD collection or find your favorite musician on iTunes or Pandora, and crank up the stereo! Lots of musicians are taking their talents online with live concerts on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Click here for a list of just a few of these upcoming concerts to stream.

Craft Time

If you’ve been putting off making a quilt or learning how to knit or crochet, now is a good time to get started. Find a tutorial online or order a book or pattern online to help fill the time.

Meditate

Meditation, yoga and deep breathing are all healthy ways to relieve stress and calm your body. Try this method from an online resource from Johns Hopkins Medicine: Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and breathe out for a count of 8. Practicing this for four breaths, four times each day or more to help relieve anxiety.

Eat Well

Eat healthy meals is important at any time. Baking and cooking can be fun ways to pass the time and try new foods and recipes. Click here for a list of our Dirigo Dishes, with lots of healthy options from the American Heart Association.

Have your own fun idea to share? Comment below!

For Your Health and Safety: A Message from Grace Management

The health and safety of our residents and associates in all of our senior living communities is our number one priority. We have implemented additional protocols and precautionary measures based upon the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as outlined below. Our team continues to closely monitor our communities for any signs of the virus and we are providing ongoing education and resources.

Precautionary Measures and Guidelines:

  • We are following the guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local and state health departments
  • We have partnered with Dr. Kevin W. O’Neil, MD, FACP, CMD as our Medical Advisor as an additional measure of support and guidance
  • We are reinforcing infection control processes and emergency preparedness plans already in effect
  • We have enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols related to COVID-19
  • We are eliminating all non-essential visitor access to all of our communities
  • We are ensuring our residents remain connected virtually with their loved ones
  • We are postponing or adjusting large group functions while preserving connections and engagement
  • We are modifying or adjusting dining service as appropriate
  • We are regularly monitoring the health of our residents and associates
  • We are encouraging and supporting our associates to remain home when sick
  • We are maintaining regular communication with residents, families, and associates

As Good Neighbors in our communities, we welcome the opportunity to connect with you and expound on the benefits of our senior living environment. Each of our Grace Management, Inc. communities remains committed to creating exceptional senior living experiences by bringing care and compassion to every relationship.

For additional information and the latest COVID-19 updates, we encourage you to visit the CDC Website.

Dirigo Dish: Apple Nachos

Springtime have you craving something light, crunchy and healthy? Check out this fun and simple snack from the American Heart Association. Perfect for an afternoon snack, this recipe can be adapted with any number of toppings. Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!

Ingredients

  •  

    1/3 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries or raisins
  •  

    1/4 cup sliced almonds (unsalted)
  •  

    2 Tbsp hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds
  •  

    red or green apples, cored and thinly sliced into about 12 pieces each
  •  

    1-2 tsp lemon juice
  •  

    2 Tbsp water
  •  

    1/4 cup reduced-fat, smooth peanut butter
  •  

    1 Tbsp honey

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine dried cranberries/raisins, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
  2. Core each apple and thinly slice into about 12 pieces each. Layer half the apples onto a large plate or platter. If the apple slices will be sitting out for a while, sprinkle a little lemon juice over them to prevent browning.
  3. Using the microwave or a teapot, bring 2 tablespoons water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine hot water, peanut butter, and honey. Use a spoon and stir until mixture is smooth.
  4. Use the spoon to drizzle half the peanut butter mixture over the plated apple slices; sprinkle with half the cranberry mixture. Layer the remaining apples on top and repeat with remaining peanut butter and cranberry mixture. Serve.

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

6 Lucky Reasons to Live at Dirigo Pines

Surrounded by nature with the conveniences of Bangor and the town of Orono so close by — it’s no wonder the residents of Dirigo Pines consider themselves very lucky. Stop in and you’ll discover just how friendly and beautiful Dirigo Pines really is. It’s not just the professional services and healthcare we offer, but the little things that make it feel like Dirigo Pines might just be located at the end of a rainbow…

1. We’re Pet Friendly

Four-legged friends play a special role for many families, which is why Dirigo Pines is a pet-friendly facility. We are home to many animals at the Inn and in our cottages, offering residents the companionship, love and compassion that only a furry friend can give. For those who are not able to have a pet, we are lucky to have regular visits from a variety of therapy animals. Our therapy dogs are always greeted warmly by residents, particularly in our Memory Loss Neighborhood.

2. Our Very Own Putting Green

The weather is warming up, spring is just around the corner — that means golf season isn’t far behind. And while there are lots of ways to have fun at Dirigo, our Piney Knoll Putting Green outside the Dirigo Pines Inn might just be one of our favorites. The 40×15 foot artificial turf putting green was installed in 2015, and it’s been a popular attraction ever since — and a great way to dust off your short game and have fun with friends.

3. UMaine Connection

Our connections and proximity to the University of Maine in Orono might make others green with envy. Maine’s flagship university is just down the road, meaning Dirigo residents have instant access to amazing shows, concerts, theatre, music, sporting events and more.

4. Strike Gold in the Fishing Ponds

Each spring we stock Dirigo’s two fishing ponds with small trout. Fishermen and women of all skill levels enjoy hooking a big ol’ fish, and for the non-anglers, our ponds are surrounded by beautiful walking trails. The trails are not to be missed in the spring — edged with stunning flowers in bloom and convenient benches to spot the occasional deer or heron.

5. Take a Hike

Speaking of trails, Dirigo offers hiking trails connecting to the Orono Land Trust’s Sklar Park trail system, a 40-acre parcel situated at the west end of Main Street, between Route 2 and I-95. Pick up a trail brochure – developed by our residents and available at the trail entrance behind the Dirigo Pines Inn – and get walking and discovering! Click here for more information about our trails! 

6. Green Thumbs

At Dirigo Pines, gardening is a great way to connect with our neighbors and find common interests. Our cottage residents have grown incredible gardens throughout the campus for all to enjoy. And Dirigo offers raised bed plots to all Inn residents in a community space that comes to life in the summer with fantastic color and fruit. It’s a fun spot for residents to gather and share their work, as well as share the delicious fruits of their labors with other residents.

Celebrate Spring with these Local Happenings

The groundhog may have been right this year — spring really does seem to be springing up early! Warmer temperatures, melting snow and peaks of green have us excited for all that springtime has to offer. Here are just a few of the fun events happening in our area — mark your calendars!

  • Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show: More than 100 exhibitors fill the UMaine Field House every spring to celebrate all things outdoors. This March 13-15, check out fly-tying demonstrations, meet hunting dogs, test your bow hunting skills and even paddle a kayak in the pool! Lots of fun for all ages with tons of hands-on demonstrations and things to see. Click here for details.
  • Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race: In nearby Bangor, every April we celebrate the arrival of spring by canoeing the Kenduskeag Stream in bizarre costumes — or simply watching from banks with the rest of the river vultures (even the spectators have their own special lingo at this annual spectacle on water). Six Mile Falls (click here for directions from Dirigo Pines) is a good spot to watch some wicked wipe outs, or head to the finish line in downtown Bangor. Remember to dress warm and bring snacks. This year’s race is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, starting at 9 a.m. Check out kenduskeagstreamcanoerace.com for more info.
  • Orono Bog Walk: The first stroll along the Orono Bog Walk always feels like spring is officially here to stay. Click here to stay tuned for the official opening day (typically around May 1). This incredible natural resource is just minutes from Dirigo Pines and a great place to take a springtime walk. The boardwalk is a wheelchair-friendly facility, and benches for rest and contemplation are provided at least every 200 feet. Please note that dogs are not permitted on the Bog Walk. Can’t wait? There’s Bog Walk Themed Paint & Sip coming up April 8 with half of the proceeds going to the maintenance of the Bog Walk. Click here for details.
  • National Park Week: Combine great scenery and history with great savings and visit a national park for free. Get into Acadia National Park for free on April 18, the first day of National Park Week. Take advantage and beat the crowds to Acadia, one of the nation’s most popular parks. Can’t make it this April? No problem. Everyone age 62 and over can get a lifetime pass to America’s National Park for $80; annual senior passes are just $20!

What your favorite springtime activities? Share them below!

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group

Caring for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s is a challenging task — and sometimes the best support can be found among those who are facing the same situation. Join Dirigo Pines for our monthly meeting for caregivers of anyone with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Our meetings are free and open with anyone in the area. Come, share your experience, and discover that you are not in this alone.
Join us for our next meeting on March 11 at p.m. at Dirigo Pines in Orono. And mark your calendar for future meetings on April 8 and May 13. For more information and full list of upcoming events, click here.  
Memory Care at The Arbor
Did you know that Dirigo Pines offers a safe and personalized program for those diagnosed with memory impairments, including dementia and Alzheimer’s. The Arbor at Dirigo Pines is here to help navigate you through the challenges that comes with memory loss.
Our Village Program offers personalized programming that engages residents in activities that may reflect their former schedules, lifestyles and interests, while helping them feel safe and appreciated. Through enriching experiences and by establishing caring personal relationships with our residents, we find great sources of enjoyment and comfort—together.

Our memory care is further enhanced by It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L), an easy-to-use technology designed specifically for seniors to encourage resident activity without the frustration. Simple computer touch-screens help residents stay engaged and connected, with more than 4,000 programs to choose from that include cognitive and therapy activities, games, spiritual content and family interactions through Skype and sharing slideshows and photo albums.

Specially Designed Neighborhood Features:

  • Physical environment designed to avoid excess stimulation
  • Living and dining spaces represent environments in a residential setting
  • It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L) Technology
  • Personal items reflecting residents’ individual preferences are encouraged
  • Landmarks and sensory cues support choice and independence

Memory Care Features:

  • Choice of multiple studio apartment styles featuring bathrooms with safety features
  • Personal care assistance, cueing, and reminders
  • Medication management
  • Group and one-on-one activities founded upon familiar routines

For questions about our support group or inquiries about our Arbor neighborhood, please call 207-866-3400 or visit www.dirigopines.com/living-options#memory-care.

Dirigo Dish: Margherita Pizza

The only thing better than pizza night is this homemade Margherita Pizza from the American Heart Association. Tomato and basil and mozzarella… oh my! Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!

 

Ingredients

For the Homemade Pizza Crust:

  •  

    2 1/4 tsp dry yeast
  •  

    1/4 tsp sugar
  •  

    1 1/2 cup warm water
  •  

    2 1/2 + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (divided use)
  •  

    1 cup whole-wheat flour
  •  

    1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable or canola oil
  •  

    1/4 tsp salt
  •  

    2 Tbsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary

    OR

  •  

    2 tsp dried rosemary
  •  

    4 tsp minced garlic
  •  

    nonstick Cooking spray

For the Pizza and Toppings:

  •  

    1 12- inch whole-wheat pizza crust
  •  

    1/4 cup low-fat, part-skim ricotta cheese
  •  

    3/4 cup low-moisture, part-skim mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  •  

    1 1/2 cup diced, fresh tomatoes

    OR

  •  

    8 oz canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes (drained)
  •  

    2 Tbsp fresh basil (coarsely chopped or torn into pieces)

    OR

  •  

    1 tsp dried basil
  •  

    nonstick Cooking spray

For the Pizza Sauce:

  •  

    8 oz canned, no salt added tomato sauce
  •  

    1/2 small fresh, chopped onion ( about 1/4 cup)
  •  

    1 clove fresh garlic (minced)

    OR

  •  

    1 tsp jarred, minced garlic
  •  

    2 Tbsp fresh basil (chopped, fresh)

    OR

  •  

    2 tsp dried basil
  •  

    1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  •  

    1/8-1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (depending on your preference of spice level)

Directions

For the Homemade Pizza Crust:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the water, yeast, and sugar, stirring to dissolve the yeast and sugar. Let stand for 5 minutes. When measuring the flour, lightly spoon the flour into measuring cups and level off using a knife. Add both types of flour, oil, and salt to the yeast mixture. Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until all ingredients are mixed well.
  2. On a well-floured surface (use all-purpose flour), turn dough out and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. While you are kneading the dough add additional flour, 1 tablespoon. at a time, so the dough is more manageable. Dough should feel slightly sticky and tacky.
  3. Place dough in a large bowl that is coated well with cooking spray. Sprinkle rosemary and garlic over dough and knead lightly one more time, until slightly incorporated into dough. Spray once more over dough ball and cover. Let dough rise in a warm place (85° F), like a cupboard or pantry for about 45 minutes. Dough is ready when it has doubled in size and when you place two fingers into dough, the indention remains. When it is ready, punch down dough by inserting fist into dough ball and releasing some of the air.
  4. Cover and let rest another 5 minutes. Divide dough ball in half.
  5. On a floured surface roll one half into a 12” circle. Top with ingredients above and bake.

For the Pizza and Toppings:

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, cook garlic and onion in olive oil until soft, but not brown. Add remaining sauce ingredients, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  3. Carefully transfer pizza dough (if using homemade raw dough, see recipe below) onto a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Or if using store-bought, transfer to baking sheet lined with foil. Layer dough or crust with pizza sauce, cheese, tomatoes and basil.
  4. Bake 10-20 minutes. Pizza is ready when crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly. Cooking time will be slightly longer with raw, homemade dough. Watch closely!

For the Pizza Sauce:

  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, cook garlic and onion in olive oil until soft, but not brown.
  2. Add remaining sauce ingredients, reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

Honoring Presidents’ Day

It’s Presidents’ Day — but how much do you know about this holiday and our first president? Here are some fun facts and trivia to help celebrate this historic day and share with friends.

  • Presidents’ Day is also called Washington’s Birthday (born on Feb. 22), but it’s intended to honor all U.S. presidents. Abraham Lincoln was also born in February (Feb. 12), so this month does seem like an appropriate time to celebrate our presidents.
  • Before Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 to keep federal holidays on Mondays (instead of falling all over the place), Presidents’ Day was always celebrated on Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22. Now Presidents’ Day is always the third Monday of February (sometime between Feb. 15 and 21) — which means it can never line up to fall on Feb. 22 again.
  • Because George Washington was born when the Julian calendar was still being used, his original birthday was Feb. 11, 1731. When Britain and its colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar (which added Leap Years to more accurately reflect the Earth’s revolutions around the sun), people born before 1752 were told to adjust their birth dates. The Cliffs Notes version: Washington’s birthday was changed from Feb. 11, 1731 to Feb. 22, 1732.
  • One more unusual Washington fact: According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, some of his “wooden teeth” were actually made of hippopotamus ivory that was filed down to fit his mouth.