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.

5 Things to Love About Dirigo Pines

There’s so much to love about Dirigo Pines — and this Valentine’s Day, we’re counting the ways! Whether you’re a nature lover or looking for a gourmet meal, you’ll fall head over heels for Dirigo Pines. What do you love about Dirigo? Share it in the comments below!

  1. Getting Social: Making new friends and spending time with others is not only fun, it’s good for you! Socializing is key in maintaining a healthy physical and emotional balance. But it can be tricky to make new friends as an adult. Finding people with similar interests is a great place to start – and Dirigo Pines is full of fun ways to do just that. Every day Dirigo residents can join in different activities of all kinds – from Bridge, Cribbage and Mah Jong groups to our singing Songsters, regular art classes, Bible study groups, and much more. Love to go out to eat? Join the Out to Lunch Bunch. Want to attend a concert? See a play? Get hooked on Downton Abbey? The Dirigo Pines activity staff plans regular exercise programs, guest speakers, musical entertainment, outings to local shows and attractions, movies and more. With fulfilling programs and activities every day, it’s easy to meet new people and make new friends.
  2. Delectable Dining: From an incredible Sunday brunch to scrumptious dinners to our All Day Dining Program, there’s always something cooking at Dirigo Pines. Chef Lew Stubbs and the talented team in the kitchen leave residents and visitors raving about the meals at Dirigo. Using locally sourced produce and seafood is important to the team, and ensures high quality, fresh and delicious meals. And our All Day Dining Program gives residents the freedom of choice with options like breakfast for dinner or lunch at 2 p.m. rather than noon.
  3. Cast a Line: There are lots of unique things that set Dirigo apart. Nature lovers will fall in love with our beautiful campus, complete with walking trails and two stocked fishing ponds inviting residents to cast a line. The ponds are stocked with small trout each spring, just before we celebrate our annual Fishing Derby for anglers of all skill levels. Residents have been known to hook a monster or two and throw them right on the grill! The ponds are one of the many ways to enjoy nature at Dirigo. We’re surrounded by trails and benches, and it’s not uncommon to spot a deer, Canada geese or a heron enjoying the natural beauty.
  4. Take a Stroll: What’s more romantic than a walk in the woods with someone you love? The trails at Dirigo connect in with 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! 
  5. Practice Your Short Game: It’s a clever date idea: invite someone special to putt around Dirigo’s Piney Knoll Putting Green. Just outside the Dirigo Pines Inn you can find the 40×15 foot artificial turf putting green. It 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 some fun with friends.

Come see for yourself what retirement at Dirigo Pines looks like. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com for more information or to schedule a tour.

What’s Wellness Mean to You?

Living well can mean lots of things. It’s seizing opportunities to connect with others, explore interests, grow spiritually and nurture a healthy lifestyle. It’s being part of a community where you feel valued and welcome. At Dirigo Pines, we provide all the ingredients our residents need to live up to their full potential. From fitness lessons to therapeutic programs and everyday activities that define our vibrant community, everything we do is guided by a sense of purpose.

Therapy Partners

Aging is a natural process, and one that presents both joys and challenges along the way. Sometimes we need a little extra help, which is why we partner with therapy providers to ensure mobility stays high and stress low. Our partners tailor programs to meet your individual needs. Guided by professionals who have experience working with a range of issues, we help you get the compassionate and convenient care that helps you live your best life.

Transportation

From around your neighborhood to out in the town, we want you to live your life to the fullest. We welcome residents to explore nearby attractions and events at their leisure and ensure that your travel is safe and convenient. Whether it’s to attend medical appointments or enjoy the local flavors and shops, we connect you with transportation you can count on.

Come see for yourself what retirement at Dirigo Pines looks like. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com for more information or to schedule a tour.

See Yourself Here – Independent Living at Dirigo Pines

On the hunt for the perfect place to retire? We’ve got you covered. Penobscot Commons at Dirigo Pines is the heart of our community, offering beautiful independent living apartments with a variety of one- and two-bedroom floor plans available with full kitchens. One monthly fee covers rent and utilities, daily dinner, weekly housekeeping, 24-hour emergency response system and scheduled transportation.

With day-to-day freedom to come and go, and the convenience of any number of activities to choose from, Penobscot Commons at Dirigo Pines is a perfect fit for an active, healthy lifestyle. Enjoy restaurant-quality dining and weekly social gatherings, and feel empowered to explore personal interests. When residents feel like venturing into the larger community, our team connects them with transportation to everything they’re accustomed to doing. Click here to learn more.

Features include:

  • Choice of one- and two-bedroom floor plans with full kitchens
  • Housekeeping and maintenance, including linen service
  • Many utilities included
  • Outdoor courtyards with putting green, nature trails, and trout ponds
  • Fitness Center
  • Beauty Salon/Barber Shop
  • Media room, library, and arts and crafts studio

Come see for yourself what retirement at Dirigo Pines looks like. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com for more information or to schedule a tour.

 

Dirigo Dish: Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Brr! Baby, it’s cold outside! Warm up with a bowl of hearty and delicious beef stew thanks to this easy slow-cooker recipe from the American Heart Association. Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!

Ingredients

  •  

    1 lb bottom round beef roast (cut into 1-inch cubes)
  •  

    1 large Russet potato, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  •  

    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  •  

    1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  •  

    2 cups peeled, thinly sliced carrots
  •  

    1 package frozen pearl onions
  •  

    1 can no-salt-added, diced tomatoes
  •  

    1 can low-sodium beef broth
  •  

    1 cup water
  •  

    3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  •  

    1/2 teaspoon ground Black pepper
  •  

    1 package frozen peas
  •  

    2 Tbsp dried parsley

Directions

  1. Cut the bottom round beef roast into 1-inch cubes and add into a 4-to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl. Chop the potato into 1/2-inch dice, adding to the beef cubes, along with the flour. Use a spoon to stir mixture together.
  2. Cut the sweet potato into 1/2-inch dice and thinly slice carrots. Add the sweet potato and carrots into the slow cooker bowl over the meat. Top with the pearl onions, diced tomatoes, beef broth, water, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cover the slow cooker with a lid and cook until beef is tender, about 10 to 12 hours on low heat or 5 to 6 hours on high heat. Right before serving, stir in the frozen peas and dried parsley. Cover and let peas cook, about 5 to 10 minutes. 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!

Making the Move

If your New Year’s resolutions include moving to a retirement community in 2020, you’re probably feeling a little anxious and have lots of questions. We understand that the prospect of moving can be overwhelming, which is why our team is here to provide support and preparation. From finding the ideal living option to moving into it, our goal is to make the process simpler than ever.

To begin planning your move, consider keeping a folder or binder to collect information about the retirement communities that you visit. To schedule a visit at Dirigo Pines in Orono, call 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com. Make a list of things that are important to you in your new home — like social activities, a convenience distance to local golf courses, fitness classes, hiking trails, being able to keep your pet and more. Equally important is a list of the things you’d like to do less of in retirement, like home maintenance, cooking, housekeeping and driving.

Once you’ve decided on the perfect retirement community for your needs, create a to-do list and calendar for tasks like finding a realtor to sell your current home, cleaning out rooms and closets to as you prepare to downsize, hiring movers, packing and more can help you stay on track. Being organized can go a long way in relieving anxiety and accomplishing your goals.  

Dirigo Pines is registered with the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA). ASHA hosts “Where You Live Matters,” a senior living resource that addresses everything from selecting the right living situation to making the transition to your new home. Find more answers and info at www.whereyoulivematters.org.

5 New Year’s Resolution Ideas — and How to Keep Them

New Year’s Resolutions come in all shapes and sizes — some are fun, like learning how to make your own pasta, while others are more serious, like getting your finances in order. The start of a fresh new year is the perfect time to make a resolution or two or three in a variety of sizes, and we’re here to help you discover the best ways to stick to them for the whole year to come. Have some great resolution ideas of your own? Add to the comments section at the bottom!

1. Exercise

It’s everyone’s favorite resolution! Regular physical activity is the best medicine to keep active and moving, improve your balance, posture, mood and bone and muscle health, and ward off heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and more. From yoga to sittercise, Dirigo Pines offers regular opportunities for residents to stretch and move. 

If walking is more to your liking, Dirigo Pines’ walking trails connect with the Orono Land Trust’s Sklar Park trail system. Stretch out your muscles with a stroll among the Pines. Click here for more about our trails.

The University of Maine is just minutes away and offers access to the school’s many sports facilities, including tennis courts, an indoor pool, cross-country skiing trails and bike paths. Dirigo residents are also eligible for a discount to UMaine’s state-of-the-art Fitness Center

2. Eat Right

Just about everyone has eating right on their list of New Year’s resolutions. At Dirigo Pines, we’re making it easy. With gourmet meals prepared daily, it’s simple to eat delicious, nutritious food every day. In addition to our regular meal schedule, our All Day Dining Program offers flexibility for those who don’t eat on a regular rotation. What time is dinner? Whenever you choose. With dining anytime, incredible menu items and multi-venue options, you can savor the day on your own schedule. Whether you are an early riser or late sleeper, our program provides the flexibility to meet your unique lifestyle. You’ll always have a seat at the table. Visit our website to learn more!

Like to cook but need some new ideas? We’ve all been there! 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! 

We share lots of great recipes from the AHA and more on this blog! Click here for a full list of Dirigo Dish recipes! 

And did you know that during the summer, residents can sow their own little plot of land to grow delicious fresh veggies? What better way to eat right – and get some exercise!

3. Meet New People

Making new friends as a child – it’s a breeze. Making new friends as an adult – it’s a little trickier. Finding people with similar interests is a great place to start – and Dirigo Pines is full of fun ways to do just that. Every day Dirigo residents can join in different activities of all kinds – from Bridge, Cribbage and Mah Jong groups to our singing Songsters, regular art classes, Bible study groups, and much more. Join the Out to Lunch Bunch for a meal and good conversation, check out a Sunday movie matinee, shop, exercise, or just join our regular Social Hour. There are lots of great ways to meet new people and build lasting friendships at Dirigo.

Check out our monthly events calendar to see what’s happening now.

4. Learn Something New 

Ready to try a new hobby or take a class? Resolve to make it happen in 2020! From Scrabble to Rummikub, there are lots of clubs and activities at Dirigo Pines to help you learn. Dirigo also hosts various classes through the Penobscot Valley Senior College, offering unique learning opportunities throughout the year – with no tests or homework and a focus on socializing and enjoyable learning. Aced it!

5. Get Regular Screenings & Doctors Visits

Taking care of yourself is perhaps the best resolution you can make. Schedule your annual wellness visits, discuss screenings and tests including eye exams, cancer checks, hearing screenings and more. Talk to your doctor about your medications and if you still need them or need to change anything. And don’t forget about immunizations and shots! It might not be the most fun resolution on your list, but it might be the most important!