Celebrating American Heart Month with Heart-Healthy Habits

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date February 13, 2023

Each February, stores are flooded with heart-shaped candies, boxes, trinkets, prints, and embellishments in pink and in red as we prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day. February is also National Heart Month, and we turn our focus to heart health. On Friday, February 3, the American Heart Association of Alabama painted the town red as news anchors, businesses and schools, Birmingham landmarks, and even our furry friends at Hand in Paw donned the color red. Residents at Kirkwood joined in recognition, wearing red in support of National #WearRedDay and the fight against heart disease and stroke.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it is vitally important to understand risk factors, symptoms, and warning signs for heart disease and how to preventatively live a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Heart-healthy habits can include:

  • Getting enough exercise
  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a heart-healthy diet, full of fruits and vegetables while limiting your intake of saturated fats
  • Regularly visiting your physician
  • Reducing your alcohol intake
  • Watching your weight
  • Getting good sleep
  • Reducing stress factors


Our staff at Kirkwood is committed to helping our residents live a healthy lifestyle. Our dining staff creates delicious and nutrient-filled meals. Our maintenance and housekeeping staff can relieve the stress of home upkeep. Our onsite nursing staff is available to all residents, alleviating the stress of “what-ifs” in emergencies. Our activities calendars are packed with opportunities for exercise classes and socially engaging activities.

This month, let us remember to prioritize our health. As we celebrate those we love, may we also remember to love ourselves a little deeper – with increased awareness and education of how to take best care of our hearts.


The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents