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...

Grace Ridge residents blaze a trail for Older Americans Month

🔊 Listen to This Blog. 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...

Good Eats: What’s cooking in the Grace Ridge kitchen for National Nutrition Month

🔊 Listen to This Blog. Grace Ridge Executive Chef Jeremiah Brown and his culinary team are dedicated to smashing misconceptions about bland retirement community food: one roasted shallot and mushroom flan, sake and ginger glazed salmon, and mango sorbet with green tea whipped cream at a time. Tasty, creative and visually appealing cuisine is a big slice of the Good Moods at Grace Ridge pie, which means there’s no plopping a scoop of cold mashed potatoes on a plate or serving mass-produced and perfectly shaped loaves of chicken cordon bleu. “Even before you eat it you can tell when something is premade or comes from a box or can. People are more demanding these days and want to know what’s going in their food and how it’s made,” Brown said. “We’re always adapting recipes and figuring out how we can make them better, more flavorful and healthier by making as much as we can in-house.” For National Nutrition Month, the culinary team will embrace the “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” theme by featuring new recipes focused on fruit, veggies, whole grains, herbs and spices. Also planned is a Chef’s Table to highlight featured ingredients and test residents’ ability to identify different greens, grains, legumes and herbs. Additionally, Grace Ridge is partnering with Western Piedmont Community College to build an herb garden in the spring. “It’s about getting people to think about what they’re eating and giving more thought to where their food comes from and what it does for them. That’s what we’re here for – to help them make those changes,” Brown said. While the culinary team...

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

🔊 Listen to This Blog. 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...

From bottle cap benches to a friendship garden, it’s Good Projects time at Grace Ridge

🔊 Listen to This Blog. It’s no easy (or tidy) task spending 100-plus hours sifting and sorting through bags stuffed with thousands of plastic caps from sodas, laundry detergent bottles, coffee cans and peanut butter jars, but when the end result is three new “green” benches for deaf and blind seniors, it’s an undertaking that’s truly gratifying. Last year, Grace Ridge spearheaded a Community Bottle Cap Project and teamed up with Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, Simply Green Recycling Service and Robert L. Patton High School to collect plastic bottle caps and promote the importance of recycling. “We wanted to collect enough bottle caps to make a recycled bench for the Alder Springs Senior Deaf and Blind Community,” said Evelyn Beaver, life enrichment director. “We had an unbelievable response from the community – all over western North Carolina – and ended up collecting enough to make three benches. It’s a great example of true community spirit.” Once volunteers sorted the 1,200-plus pounds of bottle caps and loaded them into the Grace Ridge van, Evelyn and co-worker Wanda Miller made the 500-mile trek to Evansville, Ind., where the caps were repurposed into benches at Green Tree Plastics. On Dec. 18, Grace Ridge staff presented three green benches – tied with a red bow – to representatives from North Carolina School for the Deaf at Morganton Foundation and the Senior Deaf & Blind Community. Board Chairman Jerry Norvell gratefully accepted the benches and promised they will be put to good use when the new community opens early next year. “What an incredibly creative way for Grace Ridge residents to add quality...