30th Anniversary Party Celebrates Grace Ridge, Then and Now

Dr. Jean Ervin’s vision of establishing a retirement community in Morganton began in 1978, but her labor of love didn’t became a reality until nearly a decade later. Since opening its doors in October 1987, close to 800 people from all over the world – from artists and educators to military leaders and executives – have called Grace Ridge home. Honoring a Milestone with Light and Goodness Throughout 2017, we celebrated 30 years of Good Moods, Good Times and Good Life at Grace Ridge, culminating with an anniversary party on Oct. 13 that honored residents, staff and friends – past and present. Traditionally, pearls are used to help commemorate a 30-year anniversary. Our Life Enrichment and party planning team kicked that idea up a few notches with a white-themed party that combined fun, reminiscence and elegance. Donning their white attire, more than 100 guests walked into an Ervin Community Room that had been transformed into a sea of white – linens, flowers, pumpkins, hanging tissue pom-poms, table settings, chair covers and party favors. “Tonight, we not only celebrate 30 years of a building or a community, we celebrate the people who have lived at Grace Ridge and those who serve here and have been inspired by our senior friends,” said Executive Director Brenda Yost. Master of Ceremonies Jerry Davis kept the nostalgia and laughs flowing throughout the evening while proudly wearing a pair of white shorts that dated back to his college days. The Burke County Chamber of Commerce president said he was honored to introduce a “small slice of the deep wealth of talent at Grace Ridge,” including...
Airborne Pathogens Be Gone! New Purifying System Helps Protect Residents

Airborne Pathogens Be Gone! New Purifying System Helps Protect Residents

Most of us know the importance of taking steps to ensure we stay healthy and protect ourselves against infections and illness. We scrub surfaces, we scrub our bodies and we scrub our hands. But what about scrubbing the air? Novaerus, an air purification technology that’s been implemented at Grace Ridge Retirement Community and throughout Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, is doing just that.  “This unique technology quietly scrubs away harmful pathogens in the air. It helps us ensure our residents and staff members are protected from infections and illnesses that are caused by airborne viruses, bacteria, allergens and mold,” said Executive Director Brenda Yost. Yost noted that because Novaerus doesn’t produce harmful byproducts, it’s safe to use around vulnerable populations, such as older adults. “We have two portable units set up in our main lobby. It’s a great location because it’s a high-traffic area and can make the most impact for our residents and guests.” Healthy Air Benefits Benefits of the healthy air system are numerous and include protection against viruses like the common cold, norovirus and the flu; reducing bacteria to prevent infections; removing odors; destroying dangerous C-Diff spores that can cause illness; and eliminating pollen, mold and other forms of irritating allergens. The company’s website notes the technology has an “extremely high kill rate” and has been independently tested and proven to be effective. Yost noted that Grace Ridge will add additional Novaerus systems, as needed, and interested residents can rent or purchase a portable unit for their apartment or villa. Allergies & Asthma in Older Adults Grace Ridge’s investment in healthy air technology comes at an...
‘The Beauty of Music & Memory’ to Provide Insight into Dementia

‘The Beauty of Music & Memory’ to Provide Insight into Dementia

Are you living vibrantly as you age? Many Americans now view aging as a new phase of life that provides a wealth of opportunities for learning and engaging. May is Older Americans Month, and more than ever, seniors are enjoying new experiences, finding a voice in their communities and focusing on their independence. As part of this important month, Grace Ridge is participating in a community partnership to bring an enlightening educational event back to Burke County for a second year. “The Beauty of Music & Memory” features Teepa Snow, a nationally known educator in the field of dementia, and Ron Gregory, founder of Alzheimer’s Music Connect. If you’re interested in finding out more about memory care or dementia, you’ll want to attend this free symposium sponsored by Grace Ridge, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, the Western Piedmont Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging and other organizations. Family caregivers, health care providers and members of the public are expected to attend the event, which delves into the connection between the mind and music. About the Presenters Teepa Snow is a registered and licensed occupational therapist as well as a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. As a leading dementia educator, her philosophy reflects her education, work history and personal experience with caregiving. With more than three decades in occupational therapy, Snow developed her Positive Approach® to Care that professionals and families around the world now use in providing care to individuals with dementia. The techniques and strategies integrated into the Positive Approach® to Care reflect the latest information about brain functionality and the changes that occur as...

Good People: Celebrating National Volunteer Month

April is National Volunteer Month, a time to celebrate the special people who selflessly serve others throughout the year. As we observe our 30th anniversary at Grace Ridge, we’re planning some exciting events to recognize the many contributions of our volunteers. Honoring Volunteers Our resident volunteers serve in important roles both within Grace Ridge and in the Burke County community. Whether they are serving Meals on Wheels to homebound seniors, crafting homemade cards for our Health Care Center residents, or cutting, sewing and stuffing animals for Carolinas HealthCare BlueRidge, our resident volunteers continually give of their time and talents. “We appreciate everything our volunteers do to make Grace Ridge and our community a better place to live and work,” said Life Enrichment Director  Evelyn Beaver, who noted that the 2,000 volunteer hours submitted for 2016 “just touched the iceberg” of the total amount of hours actually donated. To honor the service of our resident volunteers, we’ve planned a special breakfast event on Tuesday, April 11. Because we believe our volunteers deserve some pampering, we’ll follow the breakfast event with a “spa day,” where all our resident volunteers can enjoy hand massages, facials, hand waxing, makeup from Mary Kay and other fun spa services. We expect approximately 40 to 50 of our resident volunteers to participate in the event. Beaver said she’s putting the finishing touches on the plans for the special day. “We’re still working on everything, but it should be a fun morning and one in which our resident volunteers will be pampered for their continued service,” she said. “We want to honor them for making a difference...

Mountain Views: Chronicling the Lives and Times of Grace Ridge Residents

The 1988 inaugural issue of the then-nameless Resident’s Council Newsletter was a sparse, three-page document that highlighted the opening of the Mountain House Library, the “ready for use at all times” chapel, a stamp fundraising project to feed hungry children, location of the new soft drink machines and member list for the Sunshine and Ice Cream Parlor committees. The newsletter also described what life was like at Mountain House (renamed Grace Ridge in 1991): “Each of us has different interests – whether we participate in the exercise class, take advantage of the arts and crafts room, participate in the various games, or simply enjoy the company of others as we gather for meals – we are not regimented. We are each free to do his own thing.” Nearly 30 years later, the diverse interests of residents remains unchanged, but what has evolved is Mountain Views. Now a 12-page newsmagazine, it offers a colorful, insightful and meaningful glimpse into the good moods, good times and good life at Grace Ridge. The publication’s mission is simple: “Be a voice of, by and for the residents to provide information about our community and to serve as a permanent record of our lives and times.” Its cost? Priceless. What makes Mountain Views unique is that it’s produced by the Grace Ridge Residents Association and features original content written by residents. Every other month, 350 copies of Mountain Views are printed and distributed to residents and staff, friends and family of residents and prospective residents. The newsmagazine committee meets regularly to brainstorm theme ideas and assign an editor to take ownership of an issue...

Good Safety: Resident security “assistant” makes debut at Grace Ridge

There’s a new “assistant” at Grace Ridge named SARA and her job is simple: Give residents peace of mind so they can continue living active, vibrant lives without worrying about getting immediate help if they have an emergency. SARA, which stands for Situational Awareness and Response Assistant, is a newly implemented program that integrates with Grace Ridge’s current emergency and security systems. Residents wear a call pendant that notifies the appropriate first responder in real-time, while simultaneously alerting staff during emergency situations. “Many of our residents are always on the go and spend a lot of time enjoying various activities throughout our campus – whether it’s taking a Conductorcise® class, playing bridge or attending worship service,” said Executive Director Brenda Yost. “If residents fall or have some other emergency, it’s not necessarily in their bedroom or bathroom where they can use their emergency pull cord. We’ve enhanced our emergency call system with the installation of SARA, which is designed to work anywhere on campus.” In the event of an emergency, residents simply call for help using their pendant; the web-based system identifies their location at the time of the event. The pendant features a hands-free, two-way talking device, so if residents are unable to press the pendant they can still call for help. When a distress call is placed, it alerts a Grace Ridge first responder, who will identify the location of the call and quickly respond to that area. The system is continuously monitored by Status Solutions, which sends daily reports on alerts and the battery life of each pendant. “The goal of implementing SARA is to improve...