Good Globe-Trotting: On the Road with Grace Ridge for “Go on a Field Trip Month”

If Grace Ridge resident and travel lover Mildred Rader had a theme song, it would be Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” “I started traveling after I retired and I haven’t stopped. If I don’t answer the phone, my kids will go to Facebook and see where I am,” she said. “My son says it’s the only way he can keep up with me!” Along with dozens of other residents, Rader makes the most of Grace Ridge’s abundant and diverse travel opportunities – whether it’s taking in a Charlotte Knights baseball game, visiting Mayberry, exploring Charleston or cruising along the Saint Lawrence River. “October is National Go on a Field Trip Month, but our residents stay busy year-round with day, overnight and mystery trips,” said Evelyn Beaver, life enrichment director. “Not only does travel help keep the brain active and the heart healthy, it also helps promote our Good Moods way of life.” Later this month, residents and staff will explore the railways and music of West Virginia on a three-day motor coach with Christian Tours. Other field trips have included zip lining at Catawba Meadows Park, hiking in Pisgah National Forest and visits to Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve, Tryon International Equestrian Center and Dellinger Grist Mill. “Evelyn, her staff and the travel committee are always busy pulling strings, plotting, making plans and arranging more adventures for us,” said resident Byrd Cornwell, a frequent Morganton News Herald contributor. In early December, a group of 40-plus residents, staff and volunteers will head to New York City. On the way home from the Big Apple, the tour bus will pass...

Senior Wellness Fair celebrates healthy aging, living longer and growing stronger

Not only does September signal the beginning of the fall season, it’s also a time to focus on healthy aging. If you want to find a one-stop shop for all your health, happiness and wellness needs, there’s no need to look further than the Live Longer, Grow Stronger Senior Wellness Fair at Grace Ridge. As a continued celebration of Healthy Aging Month, we’re hosting the second annual Good Moods event on Friday, Oct. 7, as a chance for seniors to explore techniques, strategies and tips for aging well. “By bringing together our community’s happiness, health and wellness specialists, Grace Ridge is celebrating seniors and helping them build healthier habits to thrive and stay active,” said Brenda Yost, executive director. Here’s a sampling of our Senior Wellness Fair offerings: Complimentary health screenings, including cholesterol, respiratory, hearing, blood pressure, osteoporosis and diabetes. Be sure to pre-register by Oct. 5. Flu shots in our rooftop solarium with magnificent mountain views. Don’t forget to bring your Medicare Part B card, medical insurance card or other form of payment. Presentation on the unique needs of older adults and a chance to meet Dr. Golnush Sharafsaleh, MD, MS, a specially trained geriatrician with Carolinas HealthCare Systems – Blue Ridge. Medication education booth, where you can learn about medication-medication and medication-food interactions. Demonstration highlighting Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention (Sept. 22 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day). Nutritional information and recipes from the culinary team. Tasty samples and a presentation on the benefits of dark chocolate. Balance and senior fitness testing by Phifer Wellness Center staff. Soothing sounds and relaxing chair massages in our state-of-the-art theatre. The...

Grace Ridge Friendship Garden: Good for the body, therapeutic for the soul

“Sitting in a tranquil garden is good for the body and therapeutic for the soul. Through the ages, gardens of all varieties have been revered as a place of tranquility and peace where one can escape to reflect, rejuvenate and connect with friends. Connecting with nature reduces stress, enhances memory and gives one a feeling of freedom, independence and happiness.” These thoughtful remarks and observations by Ron Martin set the serene tone for the recent Grace Ridge Friendship Garden dedication, where more than 75 people gathered under an overcast sky to celebrate a three-year labor of love – and friendship. “Several years ago, Grace Ridge and the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation wanted to improve opportunities for residents to enjoy socializing in outdoor areas by upgrading an existing garden,” said Martin, Grace Ridge resident and foundation board chair. “They decided the garden, which was located between memory care and assisted living, would be transformed into a more colorful, open garden area with a wider walkway and water feature that all Grace Ridge residents could enjoy.” Designed by Appalachian Naturescapes, the garden complements the peaceful and mountain lodge feel of Grace Ridge and features harvested boulders made of Virginia Fieldstone. It also boasts a variety of colorful and fragrant plants, flowers and trees, including maple, conifer, azalea, camellia and hydrangea. “This project has been in the making for about three years. We envisioned great landscaping in this area and to make it more user-friendly and welcoming for friends and family to gather together,” said Brenda Yost, executive director. More than $50,000 was raised in partnership with the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation...

Grace Ridge residents blaze a trail for Older Americans Month

The contributions that older adults make are varied, influential and inspirational. Seniors are reinventing themselves through new work and new passions, engaging their communities and leaving their positive mark on the lives of people of all ages. As Grace Ridge celebrates Older Americans Month and its “Blaze a Trail” theme, we highlight a few of our residents who are blazing their own trail and leading and inspiring others. Sharon Everhart A self-proclaimed “gypsy at heart,” Sharon Everhart lived on a boat for a decade and spent another 8 years traveling in an RV. We’re glad she chose Grace Ridge not only as her new home, but one where she can put her business acumen and volunteer experience to good use. While serving on the Grace Ridge Residents Association, she worked on an 18-month strategic plan project where she helped identify ways to make communications and technology easier for residents. Now serving a two-year stint as board president, Sharon recently assisted with a weeklong onsite survey by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Sharon’s trailblazing also takes the physical form and she makes it a point to exercise on a daily basis. A fan of yoga, she loves the Good Moods at Grace Ridge focus on total well-being – mind, body and mood. “There are so many activities going on around here, it’s hard to keep track of them all,” she said. “It’s really inspiring – many of the other residents are older than I am, but you’d never be able to tell when talking to or looking at them.” Byrd Cornwell Byrd Cornwell has many talents and loves...

Good Eats: What’s cooking in the Grace Ridge kitchen for National Nutrition Month

Grace Ridge Executive Chef Jeremiah Brown and his culinary team are dedicated to smashing misconceptions about bland retirement community food: one roasted shallot and mushroom flan, sake and ginger glazed salmon, and mango sorbet with green tea whipped cream at a time. Tasty, creative and visually appealing cuisine is a big slice of the Good Moods at Grace Ridge pie, which means there’s no plopping a scoop of cold mashed potatoes on a plate or serving mass-produced and perfectly shaped loaves of chicken cordon bleu. “Even before you eat it you can tell when something is premade or comes from a box or can. People are more demanding these days and want to know what’s going in their food and how it’s made,” Brown said. “We’re always adapting recipes and figuring out how we can make them better, more flavorful and healthier by making as much as we can in-house.” For National Nutrition Month, the culinary team will embrace the “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” theme by featuring new recipes focused on fruit, veggies, whole grains, herbs and spices. Also planned is a Chef’s Table to highlight featured ingredients and test residents’ ability to identify different greens, grains, legumes and herbs. Additionally, Grace Ridge is partnering with Western Piedmont Community College to build an herb garden in the spring. “It’s about getting people to think about what they’re eating and giving more thought to where their food comes from and what it does for them. That’s what we’re here for – to help them make those changes,” Brown said. While the culinary team won’t be converting mac and...

Coloring, dancing, eating and laughing? There’s more than one way to evoke a Good Mood at Grace Ridge!

Walking into Grace Ridge’s Color Me Happy party on Feb. 12, it was impossible not to break out in a smile that spanned from ear-to-ear. Tables were strewn with markers, pencils, baggies filled with sweet snacks, crisp white paper and bright blue, yellow and orange paper hats scrawled with feel-good quotes. Good mood-inducing songs like the Happy Days theme and Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” played, while colorful helium balloons bounced around the room and the scent of homemade chili wafted through the air. Seated at the tables were 80-plus Grace Ridge residents, friends, sisters, mothers and daughters who enthusiastically colored while chatting, laughing and reflecting on what makes them happy. For some, happiness was spending time with family, while others were just happy to wake up every day or have the chance to enjoy good food and friends. Meanwhile, resident Glenn Lloyd embraced his role as the token male and donned a hat that read, “Happiness is being the only man at this event.” Organized by Evelyn Beaver, director of life enrichment, the event was a coloring party and art lesson rolled into one. An artist and painter, Beaver demonstrated how to shade and blend colors and also highlighted the importance of lighting and paper quality. “The great thing about coloring is it’s so broad that anybody can do it,” Beaver said. “You can pick a design that best fits with your abilities, the acuity of your vision and the steadiness of hands. It can be a very simple design or a complex one – all that matters is that you enjoy it.” Resident Gay Nelson loves coloring so...