A Sign of Understanding

Good Shepherd Community resident, Betty Shirm, recently began teaching sign language classes for anyone interested in learning the skill.

“By teaching sign language to others, I am providing an opportunity to learn sign language before a person goes deaf and it also affords them the opportunity to communicate with deaf friends,” she said. One doesn’t have to have long conversations, but simply knowing how to say, “good morning,” or “how are you?” is a kindness to someone struggling with hearing, she contends.

Betty’s typical class will begin with reviewing fingerspelling, then working on Universal Signing Language, followed by combining the two.

In fingerspelling, individual alphabet letters are formed using the fingers and hand. These can then be put together to spell out words. The disadvantage to fingerspelling is it is very slow, according to Betty.

In Universal Signing Language, “motions are used to depict a meaning.” The two can be combined, so words can be spelled out when necessary and the motions are used as well.

Betty learned sign language when she was working as a music therapist. She had a girl come to her who could neither talk nor hear. She wanted to be able to help her through music, but she wasn’t sure how to communicate. She used her “ingenuity” with the girl as best she could by drawing a square with her fingers, and then wiggling her fingers like they were dancing. In this way she was able to get across to the girl that she was asking if she’d like to learn how to square dance. The enthusiastic answer was “Yes!”

After two months of lessons, three times weekly, from a speech pathologist, Betty was able to begin communicating more adeptly with the girl. She also got some of the carpenters at the facility to build a stage that would vibrate with the music, and the girl was able to successfully use the vibrations of the music to dance.

Betty then formed a square dancing troupe, which traveled around the state performing. The girls wore skirts made of red bandana material with stiff petticoats and the boys wore Levis with starched white shirts and red bandanas. They even had a station wagon with “Betty Shirm Square Dancers” painted on it. All because Betty wanted to communicate with a child who couldn’t hear.

It is Betty’s hope that by offering this class, she is providing a service to her community and she likes that she is able to fill her time by volunteering at The Cove.


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Multicultural Educator

Jyothi McMinn (Pronounced: JOH-thee MIK-min), arrived in the U.S. as a young girl of 23 years driven by a passion for early childhood education. Jyothi’s love of education came from her parents who were also early childhood educators. Jyothi studied early childhood education at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and later was a Fulbright Scholar, attaining her Master’s Degree in Little Rock at UALR. (The Fulbright program is an American scholarship program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946.)

Jyothi’s passion to provide the best learning experience possible to children culminated in her dream of opening a Montessori school. Montessori education is based upon a method developed by its namesake, Maria Montessori (1870-1952), which builds upon the way children naturally learn. Jyothi became a Montessori school director in 1965 and poured her passion for learning into countless Arkansas preschoolers for the last 5 decades.

Jyothi is as passionate about preparing fresh meals as she is about education. In India, it is customary for a bride to receive a spice box as part of her wedding trousseau. Jyothi is pictured above with her own spice box containing a variety of cooking spices. Having all the spices you need in one place makes seasoning your food a simpler task. It is also important to know that the spices are very often handed down from the bride’s own mother and has great sentimental value. The spice box has a small teaspoon inside to measure out each spice as you cook. The typical Indian spice box contains whole spices such as black peppercorns, coriander, cardamom, mustard, cumin, and turmeric. Can you imagine how wonderful they smell?

She has been a resident at Good Shepherd for more than a year now and she likes it here and says there are many interesting people. While she knows many of her neighbors, she still longs to know more of Good Shepherd’s residents and hopes there are others in our community who would like to exchange ideas, participate in cooking, and even talk about the challenges we all face in our everyday life.


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A Trip to Remember


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Good Shepherd's Newest Author

Good Shepherd Community has no shortage of talent or inspiration. One of our residents just published her first book! A cookbook! Writing a book was an item on her bucket list (a list of things you would like to experience or accomplish during your lifetime) that also includes learning to swim and learning to use a computer. She also works as a care giver and uplifts the spirits of all who are around her. Good Shepherd couldn't be more proud. Congratulations! 

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Therapy at your Doorstep

If you are considering a move to Good Shepherd Community, you should be aware of one of our unique benefits -- having access to physical therapy in your home. Good Shepherd has contracted with PTI (Physical Therapy Institute) so you can get the assistance you need in the most convenient way possible. PTI is not limited to physical therapy, but can provide occupational, and speech therapy as well. Their free screening will determine whether you are deficit in strength, range of motion, balance, coordination, or why pain could be limiting your mobility so that your physical therapy plan is tailored to your needs. PTI also has a fall prevention program if you are at risk for falling. Their services bill your Medicare Part A or B plan for payment.

Recently we were told by a Good Shepherd resident and patient of PTI, “I didn’t realize how important therapy was. It [PTI therapy] has helped me regain strength and it is very convenient. I just love it.”


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Senior Fitness and Fun!

Beanbag baseball is growing in popularity amongst the senior community.  In fact, you might be surprised to learn there there are quite a few teams,  tournaments, and even an annual 'Olympics' for beanbag baseball players.  Good Shepherd proudly boasts its own team, the Good Shepherd Warriors.  They are newly formed this year, but have done quite well despite their newcomer status.   

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Sandwiching in History at The Castle

It is important that everyone, young or old, experience lifelong learning. Good Shepherd's Wellness Services plugged several of our residents into this cultural outing June 3, 2016 to tour the "Castle on Stageoach".  The home was built in 1935 and resembles a French Chateau.  However, the locals just refer to it as "The Castle".  A group of our residents were all too happy to amble around the lush grounds and walk through two floors of the home.  Good Shepherd is grateful to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program for hosting such an enriching event and making it available to our seniors.  We will enjoy this event in the coming years.


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Having Fun and Staying Active in Senior Living

Everyone knows that staying active leads to many health benefits and quality of life as we age.  But, not everyone enjoys exercising.  The secret to sticking with exercise are making sure it is something you enjoy and having friends to do it with.  Beanbag Baseball is growing in popularity amongst seniors and a group of residents at Good Shepherd have formed at team called the WARRIORS!  They are a fun bunch who work hard at their game with frequent practice.  Beanbag baseball is played just like real baseball, but instead of batting a ball, beanbags are tossed into holes (hopefully) labeled first, second, third, and homerun.  However, there are also slots for "foul" and "out".  And don't forget, three strikes and YOU'RE OUT! If a player, for instance, tosses their bag through the "third base" slot, they then walk the "bases", which are actually strategically placed chairs labeled "1st", "2nd", and "3rd".  There's no hurry to get to the bases, just a casual stroll, but each "base" must be touched.  Of course, the homerun is the most difficult slot to master, but when a play throws a homerun, teammates jump to their feet and erupt with shouts of joy with lots of high-fiving in between.  Our team has a lucky green teddy bear that each player pats or rubs for good luck.  The bottom line, is they are staying active, participating, and most of all having fun! #seniorliving #retirementcommunity #independentliving 

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Good Shepherd Memorial Garden

There is a profusion of flowers and plant life each spring that beckons residents to visit the Cove Memorial Garden. This is due to the over-the-years efforts of several residents who have taken a special interest in gardening. It’s an ongoing project whose continuation is dependent upon donations and the vision of a few residents who have an interest in making sure our residents have a beautiful place to relax outdoors. We also have the assistance of a master gardenerwho lends her time and expertise to the garden out of her generosity and her absolute love of gardening.

The plantings, together with the mossy green carpet and large rocks, makes an inviting space in which our residents are encouraged to take a stroll, rock in a glider, visit with a friend, have a picnic, or just enjoy some solitude. Our residents should be sure to look for the dogwood trees, Japanese lacy leaf maple tree, knockout roses, hydrangeas, rhododendron, and, of course, those gorgeous azaleas. Be sure to listen for the wind chimes, a purchase made possible by the combined donations of several residents.

Good Shepherd is proud of our residents’ caring involvement and proud to have such a beautiful space for our residents to appreciate.


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Keep On Moving

What do a retired Social Worker and retired Professor have in common? Friendship and a desire to stay healthy by walking. Chester Cornell and Arland Lyons have known one another through their church for many years; they even traveled to Juarez, Mexico on the same mission trip. Fast forward a few years and imagine their surprise to find themselves living in the same retirement community just down the hall from one another.

They are easy to spot walking around the Cove building - Arland carries a big walking stick. They usually make four trips around the building, which is just over a mile, and they try to do this four days a week. Their goal is to “keep moving” and their efforts will likely bring them longer years with less disability.

Anyone can start walking to stay healthy and mobile as you age. Having a friend to walk with is an added bonus.

We’d do well to remember these words of wisdom, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.”


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Our Mission

Good Shepherd exists to provide a quality, affordable living experience in a faith-based community and is committed to maintaining the independence, well-being and dignity of all our residents.

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About Our Staff

Our friendly, professional staff is here to support the health, safety and independence of our residents. From menu planning and fitness training to local excursions and chapel services, the staff at Good Shepherd will help you find everything you’re looking for as a member of our community.

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Contact Us

2701 Aldersgate Rd.
Little Rock, Ar 72205 (map)


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