Good Safety: Resident security “assistant” makes debut at Grace Ridge

🔊 Listen to This Blog. 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...

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

🔊 Listen to This Blog. 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...

Grace Ridge Friendship Garden: Good for the body, therapeutic for the soul

🔊 Listen to This Blog. “Sitting in a tranquil garden is good for the body and therapeutic for the soul. Through the ages, gardens of all varieties have been revered as a place of tranquility and peace where one can escape to reflect, rejuvenate and connect with friends. Connecting with nature reduces stress, enhances memory and gives one a feeling of freedom, independence and happiness.” These thoughtful remarks and observations by Ron Martin set the serene tone for the recent Grace Ridge Friendship Garden dedication, where more than 75 people gathered under an overcast sky to celebrate a three-year labor of love – and friendship. “Several years ago, Grace Ridge and the Blue Ridge HealthCare Foundation wanted to improve opportunities for residents to enjoy socializing in outdoor areas by upgrading an existing garden,” said Martin, Grace Ridge resident and foundation board chair. “They decided the garden, which was located between memory care and assisted living, would be transformed into a more colorful, open garden area with a wider walkway and water feature that all Grace Ridge residents could enjoy.” Designed by Appalachian Naturescapes, the garden complements the peaceful and mountain lodge feel of Grace Ridge and features harvested boulders made of Virginia Fieldstone. It also boasts a variety of colorful and fragrant plants, flowers and trees, including maple, conifer, azalea, camellia and hydrangea. “This project has been in the making for about three years. We envisioned great landscaping in this area and to make it more user-friendly and welcoming for friends and family to gather together,” said Brenda Yost, executive director. More than $50,000 was raised in partnership with...

Good Name: Grace Ridge adopts Life Plan Community designation

🔊 Listen to This Blog. 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...