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...

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...