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 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...

Senior Wellness Fair celebrates healthy aging, living longer and growing stronger

Not only does September signal the beginning of the fall season, it’s also a time to focus on healthy aging. If you want to find a one-stop shop for all your health, happiness and wellness needs, there’s no need to look further than the Live Longer, Grow Stronger Senior Wellness Fair at Grace Ridge. As a continued celebration of Healthy Aging Month, we’re hosting the second annual Good Moods event on Friday, Oct. 7, as a chance for seniors to explore techniques, strategies and tips for aging well. “By bringing together our community’s happiness, health and wellness specialists, Grace Ridge is celebrating seniors and helping them build healthier habits to thrive and stay active,” said Brenda Yost, executive director. Here’s a sampling of our Senior Wellness Fair offerings: Complimentary health screenings, including cholesterol, respiratory, hearing, blood pressure, osteoporosis and diabetes. Be sure to pre-register by Oct. 5. Flu shots in our rooftop solarium with magnificent mountain views. Don’t forget to bring your Medicare Part B card, medical insurance card or other form of payment. Presentation on the unique needs of older adults and a chance to meet Dr. Golnush Sharafsaleh, MD, MS, a specially trained geriatrician with Carolinas HealthCare Systems – Blue Ridge. Medication education booth, where you can learn about medication-medication and medication-food interactions. Demonstration highlighting Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention (Sept. 22 is Falls Prevention Awareness Day). Nutritional information and recipes from the culinary team. Tasty samples and a presentation on the benefits of dark chocolate. Balance and senior fitness testing by Phifer Wellness Center staff. Soothing sounds and relaxing chair massages in our state-of-the-art theatre. The...

Grace Ridge residents blaze a trail for Older Americans Month

The contributions that older adults make are varied, influential and inspirational. Seniors are reinventing themselves through new work and new passions, engaging their communities and leaving their positive mark on the lives of people of all ages. As Grace Ridge celebrates Older Americans Month and its “Blaze a Trail” theme, we highlight a few of our residents who are blazing their own trail and leading and inspiring others. Sharon Everhart A self-proclaimed “gypsy at heart,” Sharon Everhart lived on a boat for a decade and spent another 8 years traveling in an RV. We’re glad she chose Grace Ridge not only as her new home, but one where she can put her business acumen and volunteer experience to good use. While serving on the Grace Ridge Residents Association, she worked on an 18-month strategic plan project where she helped identify ways to make communications and technology easier for residents. Now serving a two-year stint as board president, Sharon recently assisted with a weeklong onsite survey by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Sharon’s trailblazing also takes the physical form and she makes it a point to exercise on a daily basis. A fan of yoga, she loves the Good Moods at Grace Ridge focus on total well-being – mind, body and mood. “There are so many activities going on around here, it’s hard to keep track of them all,” she said. “It’s really inspiring – many of the other residents are older than I am, but you’d never be able to tell when talking to or looking at them.” Byrd Cornwell Byrd Cornwell has many talents and loves...

Good Name: Grace Ridge adopts Life Plan Community designation

Good Moods at Grace Ridge is all about life. Planning it. Living it. Loving it. That’s why we opted to “retire” the Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) moniker and adopt Life Plan Community as our new designation. “For years, the name Continuing Care Retirement Community has given people a misleading impression of what communities like Grace Ridge are,” said Brenda Yost, executive director. “They looked at CCRCs as being all about ‘care,’ when in reality, the people who move here are all about getting the most out of life. This new name is an important shift from passive care to more active living and planning.” Nearly 35 years ago, the term CCRC was coined to describe communities that provided a continuum of living and care options for older adults – apartments and homes where residents could live independently, then assisted living and skilled nursing residences that residents could move into if and when their health needs changed. However, today’s Life Plan Communities are nothing like the CCRCs of more than three decades ago. “We’re certainly proud of our health care services, but we offer so much more – from fitness and wellness programs to creative dining and diverse social outings. Everything we do here fosters total well-being – mind, body and mood.” Jeff Bright, director of marketing, echoes Yost’s sentiments. “We’re really excited about the shift to Life Plan Community because it draws attention to Grace Ridge being about life, not just care,” he said. “People who move here tend to be planners; they like to know they’ve made decisions that ensure they have a solid plan in place...

Good Guidance: Grace Ridge residents share their wisdom for National Mentoring Month

When it comes to successfully mentoring others, you should always give a listening ear, not a speaking mouth. As a lifelong mentor and longtime pastor, Grace Ridge resident Dr. Pat Looper shares these Good Moods words of wisdom during National Mentoring Month. “I’ve mentored the youth and family members who have had loved ones pass away. I’ve also mentored clergy who are taking steps to becoming ordained and am involved with the families of Grace Ridge residents,” she said. Just recently, the daughter of one of her friends called her for some “venting time and counseling.” Dr. Looper is quick to note that when advising others, confidentiality is key. “I’m sure people would not confide in me if I didn’t keep my mouth shut,” she said. Dr. Looper said she’s learned from each and every mentoring experience and encourages others to share their wisdom with others. “I’ve had so many people mentor me throughout my life. Being a mentor is part of who you are and who you’ve learned from. We should all be passing on what we’ve learned to others.” In the case of another Grace Ridge resident, mentoring took on a tax advisor role. For 18 years, Rev. Don Robb volunteered with the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program, preparing nearly 50 tax returns each year for low-income people. “It was a nice challenge to learn a new skill and use it to serve others,” he said, adding that he’s also assisted several Grace Ridge residents with their tax preparation. For Morganton native Bill Allman, mentoring youth and coaching Little League baseball for 15 years was a highlight of...