A celebration at Silver Bluff Village last week allowed staff and residents a chance to show off their “Blooming Oasis,” an open area behind the long-term care facility’s Arrowhead Cove that has been transformed into an outdoor garden, gathering area and place where residents and families can have a relaxing visit.

As Lisa Leatherwood, the facility administrator, led a tour around the various planting areas all tended to by residents, she said residents were excited to watch the fresh vegetables grow and ripen, much like they did at their own homes. A variety of flowers were in bloom and bushes will provide greenery all year long.

Attractive, yet heavy-duty patio furniture is expected to last years, Leatherwood said, and it includes a wheelchair swing for a resident to roll onto one side of the swing while his or her family swings on the other side.

There’s even an area where outdoor movies can be shown.

The area was transformed from a barren lawn into the multi-faceted garden thanks to a $30,000 culture change coalition enhancement grant offered through the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Division of Health Service Regulation. The cost exceeded the grant amount, Leatherwood said, but Silver Bluff added funding, and also received a grant from a grateful rehab patient, Roberta Buckner, who wanted to stay connected to the staff after she went home.

“In addition to contributing financially to the project, she gave us encouragement, great ideas and helped us with planning and budgeting for this project,” Leatherwood said. “She was a huge inspiration and help.”

To celebrate the official unveiling of the project, Silver Bluff brought in the Darren Nicholson Band, the Fuego Food Truck, which offered three dinner choices, and the Kona Ice truck.

Consonus Healthcare, the Portland, Oregon, company that partners with Silver Bluff to provide rehabilitation services, also celebrated a special award to Natasha Cook, the rehabilitation manager for the company stationed at Silver Bluff.

Cook received the highest honor possible given to an employee in the company nationally. Company representative David Dobb said Cook always went the extra mile and exhibited selflessness on a daily basis.

The teary-eyed Cook expressed gratitude for the honor.

“Thank you for allowing me to work in such a wonderful facility,” she told the crowd.

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