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...

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...

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...