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...
Good Eats: Getting to Know Grace Ridge Executive Chef Jon Kirby

Good Eats: Getting to Know Grace Ridge Executive Chef Jon Kirby

Chef Jon Kirby joined the Grace Ridge family four years ago, when he was hired as a Sous Chef by Morrison Community Living. Since being promoted last fall to Executive Chef, Jon has impressed Grace Ridge residents and staff with his culinary creativity (lotus flower root, anyone?) and amiable personality. We sat down with Jon recently to find out what it’s like cooking for 200 residents, where he finds inspiration, what his favorite meal is, and how he spends his free thyme. How did you end up cooking professionally? I first started working in the food service industry when I was 15. Later, I cooked all four years I was in school at Gardner-Webb University. I was still unsure of my career when I went there; I studied sociology and loved learning about different countries and their culture. My passion for culture is what led me to get out and see the world. I found that the best thing about immersing yourself in a new place is the food. After graduation, I moved to Honolulu and cooked at restaurants and cafés and have been working with food ever since. I have always had a love for good food, but I didn’t truly find my passion until I began growing and harvesting fruit and vegetables and bringing them into the kitchen. Where do you find inspiration for the monthly fine dining menus? I like to pull inspiration from my own experiences and travels, as well as what is around me. I look at what is locally in season from farmers and my own gardens and build the menu around the...
Healthy Aging at Grace Ridge

Healthy Aging at Grace Ridge

What does healthy aging mean to you? At Grace Ridge, healthy aging takes many forms, including physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and vocational. As part of our Good Moods program, we focus on a variety of activities that help our residents thrive. Here are some of the latest ways we’re promoting healthy aging at Grace Ridge. Senior Wellness Fair On Oct. 6 from 8 a.m. to noon, Grace Ridge hosts our senior wellness fair — known as Live Longer, Grow Stronger — for the third year. The event will feature a number of attractions, including presentations on maintaining your wellness along with screenings and assessments for glucose, blood pressure, hearing, cholesterol, balance and fitness, and cognitive testing. Presentations focus on timely topics like identity theft and scams, healthy lifestyle choices, allergies and asthma, essential oils and macular degeneration. In addition, you can enjoy a chair massage and get your flu shot, offered through Maxim Health Systems. To get your flu shot, you’ll need your medical insurance card or Medicare Part B card. The fair is free and open to individuals over age 60. If you’d like to attend, please register by Oct. 2. For more information, call (828) 580-8402. Yoga Awareness Month September is Yoga Awareness Month — an annual event intended to raise consciousness among the public about the many health benefits of yoga. At Grace Ridge, residents can participate in our yoga class as they learn to bring their mind, body and spirit into harmony. Our class meets Friday mornings with our certified instructor from Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge’s Phifer Wellness Center. A growing body of research...
Good Question: What are the Differences between a For-Profit and Nonprofit Senior Living Community?

Good Question: What are the Differences between a For-Profit and Nonprofit Senior Living Community?

If you are considering a move to senior living, understanding the differences between for-profit and nonprofit communities can help you choose the best fit for your needs. Ownership and mission stand as two prominent differentiators between the two types of communities. Grace Ridge is a nonprofit community that frequently receives accolades and awards for its exceptional staff members, campus and programming, along with its dedication to enhancing the lives of older adults. Grace Ridge is owned and managed by Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge. One way the community demonstrates its commitment to older adults is through membership in LeadingAge North Carolina, a state chapter of a national organization dedicated to inspiring and serving seniors. What are some other characteristics that set nonprofit communities apart? Comparing the Two Models With significant experience in nursing and administration, Grace Ridge Executive Director Brenda Yost has shared her expertise with other communities as a surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. She notes a number of additional differences between for-profit and nonprofit communities. In the area of dining, some for-profit communities say they offer three chef-prepared meals daily, while the reality is that the same meal is prepared and served to everyone. Unlike in nonprofit communities, for-profits often do not provide a varied menu and are unable to accommodate special diets, including gluten-free, diabetic and pureed. Some for-profits also will promise that caring, on-site managers are available around the clock, while in reality the managers often are a couple who lives in the community. Many for-profits also do not have specialized team members available, such as the social workers and independent...
Art Exhibit, Color Burke Support Good Moods Program at Grace Ridge

Art Exhibit, Color Burke Support Good Moods Program at Grace Ridge

The Good Moods program at Grace Ridge promotes overall well-being by addressing the many aspects of wellness, including the emotional, spiritual, vocational, social and intellectual. Recently, two events at Grace Ridge exemplified the commitment to healthy aging and focus on mind, body and emotions. Creative Age Senior Art Exhibit In June, Grace Ridge hosted the third annual Creative Age Senior Art Exhibit in honor of the 30th anniversary of the community. The special exhibit featured 45 works of art — from sculptured to watercolor, mixed media, crafts, photography and more — created by 25 artists over the age of 60 throughout Western North Carolina. Artists who exhibited included both professionals and nonprofessionals. All works of art in the exhibition were displayed on the first floor of the community, and visitors were provided with a numbered map indicating locations of the various pieces. After visitors viewed the exhibit, they could go to the Grand Lobby to vote for their favorites for the People’s Choice award. Following the exhibit, the ballots were counted and exhibit attendees voted Glory of Autumn (counted cross-stitch) as their favorite submission. Grace Ridge resident and prolific cross-stitcher Connie Wilkie claimed the honor. The exhibit was free and open to the public each day between June 8 and 21. On June 7, a private reception for VIPs and artists included introductions and a program. A number of the works of art were for sale; items could be purchased during the exhibit, but were left on display for the duration of the event. This unique art exhibit was just one example of the Good Moods events that support...