Grace Ridge Resident Receives Distinguished Order of the Long Leaf Pine Honor

Grace Ridge resident John Greene knew he was being honored on May 2 by the Boy Scouts for his volunteer work. He didn’t know, however, that he would also receive the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award – one of the state’s top honors. “The award blew me away. I never expected anything like that,” he said. The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award is given to individuals who make significant contributions through outstanding service and accomplishments. North Carolina’s governors have presented the award since the 1960s to people who have had exceptional impact on their communities and the state. John is the second Grace Ridge resident to receive the prestigious award in recent years. In 2015, resident Ron Martin also received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award. A Surprise Presentation On May 2, John received the Distinguished Citizen Award from Piedmont Council 420, Boy Scouts of America, at a dinner to honor him for his “unwavering commitment to Scouting and his community.” At that dinner, John also was presented with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award for going above the call of duty to serve the state and his local community. “I was pretty overwhelmed,” John said, adding that he never considered that he had contributed enough to the state to receive the award. “I’ve just been very blessed to receive honors over the years for doing things, and I certainly have appreciated it.” One of the speakers at the dinner was Coach Jerry Moore of Appalachian State University; John’s grandson played football at Appalachian under Coach Moore during the time when...

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...

Ageless Grace brain and body fitness program coming to Grace Ridge, Jan. 19-20

Juicy Joints, Gentle Geometry, Rockin’ Rockettes and Spaghetti Spine aren’t words you would typically use to describe exercise, but Ageless Grace® is no ordinary fitness program. Designed for healthy longevity of the body and brain, Ageless Grace® combines research from the areas of medicine, neuroscience, physical therapy, martial arts and fitness. The program’s 21 tools (movements) are based primarily on the science of neuroplasticity and help stimulate different areas of the brain: analytical, strategic, kinesthetic learning, memory/recall, creativity and imagination. “We’re so excited to bring this unique brain and body fitness program to Grace Ridge and the Burke County community. It’s a perfect complement to our Good Moods and Well4Life programs, which are also centered on staying active and vibrant while having fun,” said Evelyn Beaver, life enrichment director. She added, “All the movements have creative and imaginative names, like Shake it up Baby! and Zoo-ology, so they are easy to remember. They are designed to be performed seated in a chair, but they can also be done on a bed, standing near or behind a chair, down on the floor or standing. Almost anyone can do them, regardless of their physical condition, and they are simple to do at home.” The Ageless Grace® program was founded and created by Denise Medved, a leader in the fitness world and trainer for movement modalities for the last 27 years. Each of the 21 Ageless Grace Tools (movements) emphasizes different anti-aging techniques: joint mobility, spinal flexibility, right-left brain coordination, bone density, kinesthetic learning, cognitive function, systemic health, balance, fall prevention, self-esteem, confidence and playfulness. Anti-aging program comes to Grace Ridge in January...

Good Assessment: Grace Ridge’s Brenda Yost shares, gains knowledge as CARF surveyor

With a nursing and administrator career spanning four decades, Executive Director Brenda Yost was eager for the chance to share her vast clinical and leadership expertise with others in the aging services field, while also learning how to improve the quality of services at Grace Ridge. The perfect opportunity presented itself in 2011, when Grace Ridge underwent its reaccreditation process with the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), the leading independent and nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. “I joined Grace Ridge in 2009 so the reaccreditation process in 2011 was my first experience with CARF,” Yost said. “I quickly became a believer in the organization’s mission, vision and values and found it to be well organized, stakeholder-focused and continually striving for excellence.” During their three-day trip to Grace Ridge, visiting surveyors observed Yost’s consultative approach and commitment to the accreditation standards and processes and recommended she consider applying to become a surveyor herself. In 2012, after an intensive week of training in Arizona followed by two surveys as a surveyor-in-training, Yost joined the cadre of 1,400 highly qualified professionals responsible for conducting the peer-review survey component of the accreditation process. “Participating in surveyor training, conducting surveys and keeping up with continuing education activities requires a commitment from both the surveyor and their organization. I’m fortunate that Blue Ridge senior leadership supported my becoming a surveyor from the very beginning,” she said. More than 8 million people are served annually by CARF-accredited providers, which include aging services, behavioral health, child and youth services, employment and community services and medical rehab. Through active involvement with providers, consumers and...

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...