Judi Bachrach

Oberlin College Library


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00:00:03 - Unexpected circumstances conspire to motivate moving to Kendal

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So to start out, could you tell me how you came to live at Kendal at Oberlin and what attracted you to Kendal?

Resident: Well, I came to Kendal because my daughter is a professor at Oberlin in the religion department. And after my husband–I have had a lot of physical issues for many years, so my husband was my main caretaker, and he the strong amazingly outdoor robust got cancer and died, and my daughter was clearly the next in line to you know be able to help out and support me. And she said Mom there’s this great place just across the campus. I said, “Oh that sounds great, Kendal but I could never afford such a wonderful place.” She said, wait till all the financial dust settles and let's see. And low and behold my husband and I pulled it off and here I am. I had never, I didn’t know about Kendal, I never intended to live in a retirement community. I mean it was nothing that was on my radar at all but circumstances conspired to provide me the opportunity. It couldn’t have been a better place for me to land. I just–it was nothing I had envisioned but here I am and I’m delighted. I can’t imagine a better place to be.

Caroline: How long have you been at Kendal for?

Resident: Uhh in July it’ll be four years.

Segment Synopsis: After her husband passed away, this resident moved to Kendal to be closer to her daughter, a professor at Oberlin College. She never expected to move to a retirement community like Kendal, but she is happy there now.

Keywords: Cancer; Daughter; Death; Delighted; Husband; Oberlin College; Opportunity; Physical Issues; Retirement Community; Unexpected

Subjects: Family; Finances; Loss; Moving; Physical Health

00:01:29 - Severe restrictions in the Care Center meant no more visits with the baby grandson

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So you’ve been here for a while so you got to know pre-pandemic and post-pandemic life. Could you think back to the first days of the pandemic and describe what your experiences, what your reactions, what your anticipations were?

Resident: Yeah. We were in a council–so I live in assisted living, which is affiliated with the nursing home situation, skilled nursing and so on, so our rules, even though I’m an IL person, because we share the same halls and the same staff as the nursing home, we are on the same restrictions as a nursing home would be because obviously nursing homes had been so deeply stricken, we were immediately put under very severe restrictions. And I remember Stacy Terrell the Chief Health Officer and communicator for our end of the world in the care center here, saying, and this will happen, and of course no more visits, and I remember I made this terrible face. I have a very motile face I hadn't known, until I was on Zoom, I didn’t know how much my face shows. I must have made a horrible face and Stacy looked at me and said “I know!” but for me the shutdown meant no more visits from my daughter who had just had a baby in December. So this was what January or February or March or something like that. I can’t remember the exact date but somewhere in there we had the shutdown and she had been coming regularly because I can’t–they're in Lakewood so traveling back and forth is a thing. Thank god they’re as close as they are but I don’t drive so that was a serious blow to me that I couldn't have regular visits. So that was the first where I was like “oh my gosh, babies change so much so fast.” I was just stricken I was really, really, really–it made me sad. So that was the first, so that was my first reaction and then.

Segment Synopsis: As a member of the Kendal Care Center, this resident faced extreme safety restrictions. She remembers her dismay in the moment she was told that there would be no more visits to the Care Center. She immediately thought of how much her grandson would grow in their time apart.

Keywords: Assisted Living; Babies; Daughter; Grandchildren; No More Visits; Nursing Homes; Sad; Serious Blow; Severe; Shutdown; Skilled Nursing; Stacy Terrell; Stricken; Terrible; Visits

Subjects: Administration; Family; First Reactions; Mental Health; Rules and Restrictions

00:03:37 - Isolation in the Care Center

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Partial Transcript: Resident: So then as time went on–I am naturally pretty much an introvert so I don’t–a lot of people felt the lack of social contact very keenly. I’d only had about a year and a half or so to get to know independent living people in the larger community, being not so mobile anyway for me, it was a big deal to go down to the rest of Heiser to have a meal in the dining room. I did but it was a planned activity every time, so I think I felt less cut off initially from the community than other people did. But walking around our hallways, the care center was designed so that cottages just outside the care center to the north here, it was designed so they could walk through the care center in bad cold weather and go straight down to Heiser and the main area. So to have all the doors shut–that was really a visceral “oh my goodness” we are really shut down. And you couldn’t go beyond the doors unless you had a serious doctor’s appointment. You were not encouraged to go. Nobody wanted to be exposed to Covid. Again, all of the uncertainty and the fear and the exaggerations and the unknowns, and at the same time trying to keep us all safe, which we all respected. It was a turbulent time for sure. And it was hard, just visually, to see every access door that had been open to go in and out whenever we wanted. It was hard, that was hard to visually have the reinforcement of you are cut off and nobody could come in at that time.

Segment Synopsis: This resident says that her introverted personality made her less apprehensive about the lockdown. She remembers the sudden imposition of extreme safety restrictions because of all the fears and unknowns. She was shocked when the doors to the Care Center were closed permanently, signifying that the Care Center was totally cut off from the rest of the community.

Keywords: Care Center; Cut off; Doctor's Appointments; Doors Shut; Exaggerations; Fear; Hard; Introvert; Shut Down; Shuttered Doors; Turbulent Time; Uncertainty; Unknowns

Subjects: Isolation; Mental Health; Rules and Restrictions; Safety

00:05:28 - Visiting family behind plexiglass // Limited access to the outdoors

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Partial Transcript: Resident: As time went on, and the Ohio health state mandates began to shift in response to what was actually happening with the pandemic, things changed. They organized in the education building a room with a plexiglass divider. So my grandson who was however many months old was running around on the other side of the divider. I mean it was kind of crazy and I’m the singing grandma so I sing him songs, so he would sit still long enough for our usual repertoire of songs. I would draw pictures but he’s a little guy. I remember once he was sitting on my daughter’s lap and then he looked and he went “dat, dat” and I looked up and way up in the corner there was a little tiny red blinking for a fire alarm thing or smoke alarm. So I would never have even noticed that but he went “Dat, dat” he was so excited. Anyways, so that helped, it was better. And when I went to visit my daughter, by then you could go, but then you had a two-week quarantine when you came back. So as time has gone on that’s less and then less. As spring happened it was harder and harder to not be able to go outside the courtyard gardens–the two courtyard gardens accessible to us. There’s no horizon, there’s like little enclosed gardens so the garden is lovely but you can’t see, there’s no expansiveness, you can only see above the roofline sky. It was very hard. It was unfun. I’m a very outdoor, nature kind of person so it was…to be cut off from interacting with my physical environment outside was very unfun. Not pleasant.

Segment Synopsis: This resident describes interactions with her baby grandson behind plexiglass during her visitations. It was difficult to only have outdoor access to the enclosed Kendal courtyards because she could not see the horizon.

Keywords: Courtyards; Crazy; Daughter; Enclosed; Gardens; Grandchildren; Hard; Horizon; Outside; Quarantine; Singing; State Mandates; Visitations; Visits

Subjects: Family; Isolation; Outdoors

00:07:32 - Reknitting the Kendal community // Kendal's adaptiveness during Covid-19

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Partial Transcript: Resident: But you know, and then gradually things began to shift and change and now we have so much more freedom for which I am grateful. The reknitting of community has been interesting to watch, not just among us in the care center but us with the larger community again. And the larger community has been affected. It’s very–it’s slowly opening up but people have learned to be on their own. They’ve learned to keep their doors shut. They’ve learned to say “I’m sustaining myself in my own environment with my partner or by myself or whatever it is.” So it’s an unlearning that’s taking place. Learning how to socialize again. At meal times, now we're allowed to gather in the auditorium so there have been a couple of occasions where people are starting to come back in greater numbers. And that’s nice to see but it’s a really conscious decision to reconnect in ways that were vital to the community in terms socialization and making contact. I mean, and the adaptations, which if you asked me for the one word it would be the resiliency and adaptations. It was astonishing. Because people have always been part of programs that were part of the community presentations , which I joined as much as I could as soon as I got here. Everybody adapted–suddenly everything was online and we had our own in-line TV station. Brilliant! Brilliant, really brilliant. And better in some ways for people because our little auditorium in Heiser already couldn’t hold us all. Already people sitting way in the back. People could see better and hear better and it’s a thing. I don’t know if people are ever going to come back en masse to live auditorium presentations. So the people who made that happen all the people–it was brilliant and thoughtful and everyone learning to take advantage of it how to do that how to put up the programs and the lectures and the music. I mean, resilience, it was quite impressive–That’s the best part of Kendal.

Segment Synopsis: Looking ahead, the resident describes the difficult process of rebuilding community, especially forging connections between the Care Center and the rest of Kendal. Residents must break the habits they formed during lockdown and relearn how to socialize. On the other hand, her one word to describe Kendal's pandemic experience is resilience because of all the ways that Kendal adapted to offer virtual programming.

Keywords: Activities; Adapt; Adaptations; Astonishing; Brilliant; Care Center; Change; Doors Shut; Gather; Online; Opening Up; Presentations; Programs; Reconnect; Reknitting Community; Resilience; Resiliency; Shift; Socialization; Socialize; TV Station; Thoughtful; Unlearning

Subjects: Adaptations; Communication Technology; Community; Isolation; New Habits; Personal Freedoms

00:10:13 - Covid-19 exacerbated isolation of the Care Center from the Kendal community

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: It's hard to see people just staying in those isolated states even after the possibility is there to meet up with other people.

Resident: It is and I mean the care center is its own entity. When I first came here, I had lived in communities before, a spiritual community years ago with my husband. And you know, communities are communities there are always bureaucracies that's just the way it is. Human beings do that, they fall out into certain you know--Well we all do we create our tribes where we feel like we're getting our worldview reinforced and supported and where we feel comfortable. But in the care center, you know it's changed even since I've been here and this is a whole separate topic that's not about the pandemic. The pandemic just I think reinforced it so the independent living often say, "gasp, the care center" because that means I'm at the end. I've lost my cottage, I'm at the end of my life, and of course there's the reality mortality. It's more likely. Not that people don't also pass in their apartments and cottages but there's a reality in coming here. So there's been a little "ehhh '' so with the bigger retreat on both sides, people within the care center being more confined with one another and being separated from the independent living community I think it will be harder to re-establish a healthy, vital exchange. It's you know some people take it very seriously and there are committees to do this and I really appreciate their attention. And I hope it helps. But it's always there. It's not new. "Ohhh the care center.'' At the same time, it's a pretty cool place, I like it here. It's my home.

Segment Synopsis: As a resident in the Care Center, she recognizes that Covid-19 only exacerbated an already-existing separation between residents in the Care Center and residents in Independent Living. She describes stigma toward Care Center residents because of the mortality there. However, she emphasizes that the Care Center is her home, and she is dedicated to promoting community connections.

Keywords: Bureaucracies; Care Center; Change; Comfortable; Committees; Confined; Exchange; Home; Independent Living; Mortality; Reestablish; Retreat; Separated; Stigma; Tribes

Subjects: Community; Loss

00:12:16 - Applying tools of self-reflection to navigate the loss of a life partner

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So during those lockdown days what were your habits? What were your daily routines? How did you get by?

Resident: Yeah, I am, my spiritual practice was, my spiritual view of the world and how I hold myself in my life is the most important thing to me. Which includes people and loving and care and giving and doing, I mean it’s everything, right? But there’s a deep spiritual focus for me. So, again, I’m a natural introvert anyway. And I spent a lot of time working on deep self-reflection and I’m still recovering, no recovering is not the world, discovering myself. And so as a widow, … I mean I was with my husband for almost 50 years. So it’s a big adjustment. It’s a really big adjustment. Who am I without that? We grew up together. We were teenagers together. We became adults together, had a life together, had our children together, had our professions. You know, everything that a life is. And then you’re on your own. You’re flying solo. It’s different. Who am I in the relation to myself without him? Internalized psychic reference of your partner. And we were…we were both psychotherapists. We reinforced our spiritual connections with each other and our communities so we were very intimate in a lot of ways. So that was big readjustment. So for me..to be alone to have less contact to have less of an easy pathway to connecting with people to meeting new people in IL. I was left more to my own devices and I spent a lot of time learning and reflecting and meditating. So I joined Zen meditation people with Jazques Rutzky in Oberlin. And because he had to switch to online and I could never have gone to his meditation hall because it was on the third floor of his house and I could never walk up the steps. So I had known about him and his meditation group when I first got here because I didn't know who else meditated. I didn’t know there was anybody who had a practice. Turns out there was a handful, so I led a regular group. But I was so happy to be a student and not lead anything. So that was an hour every morning and it was a very–Buddhism is not my identity. I’m not a Buddhist. And I went to Quaker meeting regularly when I first came here, and I’m not a Quaker but they know how to sit in silence and that was important to me and they were my neighbors and friends and people I saw around the community. So both of those things switched to online and that was a very big anchor for me in spiritual practice. So for me, it was really a retreat.

Segment Synopsis: Lockdown and isolation provided an opportunity for self-reflection and self-discovery. This resident describes that she took this time to figure out how to navigate the world without her husband, who had been her lifelong partner. She used online meditation classes and Quaker meetings to facilitate this retreat.

Keywords: Adjustment; Anchor; Giving; Introvert; Learning; Loving; Meditating; Meditation; Meditation Groups; Online; Partners; Psychotherapists; Quaker Meeting; Retreat; Self-Discovery; Self-Reflection; Silence; Spiritual Focus; Spiritual Practice; Who am I?; Widow; Widowhood; Zen

Subjects: Communication Technology; Coping Mechanisms; Grief; Hobbies; Isolation; Loss; Self-Discovery; Spirituality

00:15:33 - Writing became an essential practice // Friendships in the Care Center

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Partial Transcript: Resident: I did a lot of writing. If you want to read it, I should send you something that I wrote that I submitted to Leading Age Ohio. It was not that long ago. It’s a few excerpts from my blog that I write. I also run a blog because when my husband was dying we were psychotherapists and he had a very, very large group of people who knew him and had worked with him over the years and were part of our spiritual community and everyone wanted to know what was happening as his cancer progressed so I started writing a blog. And people read it a lot and there was a lot of exchange and when he died I realized how much I needed to write. I had always written but I had never acknowledged how important writing was to me. I never lifted it up to a place of saying this is really essential for me. So that became a large part of my spiritual practice. Blogging too. Anyways there’s some excerpts that are specifically about the pandemic and I can send them to you.

Caroline: Yeah, that would be great.

Resident: I have three poems, so take it or leave it. Anyhow, so yeah that’s what I did. A lot of spiritual work, a lot of inner reflection grounded in the meditation groups. And you know making a deeper connection with one or two people here who are…You know I’m much younger than everybody. I just turned 70 and most of my neighbors are in their 90s and some people are in their 100s, some in their 80s, so there’s a generational thing going on here, and I had just started making friends with other newer younger people who had just moved to Kendal. And that was hard to know that those relationships were not being nurtured in the way that face-to-face can make happen. Anyway, I connected with a couple here who are still cognitively there, can watch a movie with me and not be shocked by what’s on the screen. Well, yeah, different generations, which I respect, it's just different generations. My tolerance for popular culture is different from theirs. Anyways, so I did find some new friends.

Segment Synopsis: The pandemic allowed this resident to realize the importance of writing in her life. In terms of other relationships, it was hard to lose face-to-face contact with her Independent Living friends. Therefore, she developed friendships with a few of her neighbors in the Care Center, although this was difficult because most Care Center residents are 10-20 years older than her.

Keywords: Blogging; Cancer; Connections; Death; Dying; Exchange; Generational Differences; Leading Age; Movies; Nurturing Relationships; Poetry; Popular Culture; Relationships; Spiritual Practice; Writing

Subjects: Coping Mechanisms; Friendship; Grief; Hobbies; Loss; New Habits; Self-Discovery; Spirituality

00:18:18 - The New Normal Committee: Ensuring that every resident felt heard

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So you’ve talked a lot about your own experience. It sounds like it was a time of growth somewhat. But how would you describe–in terms of Kendal as an organization–how would you describe their pandemic response? What was your reaction to their response?

Resident: Had I only been living…had I only had my personal connection with the care center, that would’ve been my perspective. But I also was asked as a person who could do it on Zoom and pay attention and be cognizant of what was going on, I was asked to be part of the New Normal Planning Committee. So I also got to hear, which was really great, because I got to hear what was going on in the larger community. And while my experience was in the care center, which was necessarily quite limited, self-limiting by the nature of why we’re here, I got to hear what was going on in the larger community. So I had an opportunity to have my finger on the pulse of what was going on and the larger Kendal responses which was everything from “How dare you tell us what to do” just like the rest of America no matter how intelligent everybody knows better than everybody else. It was amazing. I won’t say the majority of people, but there were a lot of, “based on what?” “what are the facts?” “who’s telling you you have to do this?” “why do we have this?” So there’s that contingent and then other people were just terrified of really getting ill and the “gasp” factor of Covid. I mean there was so much that was unknown in the media—I think they did a terrible job, CDC I think did a terrible job. There were so many mixed messages so you could justify anything. I don’t have to, I do have, you’d better, if you don’t—I mean it was all over the map. So we had to work with Barbara and all the staff to really establish exactly what the rules were. And given that people still needed to come—how do they do that, when do they do that, curbside pick up only, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. And everything had to be written down every T crossed, every I dotted, to make very, very clear that these were the rules. People didn’t follow them and some people couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t want to, felt infringed upon. But generally people really wanted to do their best to pay attention, in the way that we established. So we met every week for a while and then every two weeks and then once a month. And as things began to shift and change. I’m so glad I got to do that, it was hard because it had nothing to do with our end of Kendal, it had nothing to do with my life, it had everything to do with the independent living people. But still, it was a way for me to understand the variety of responses there were. And how resilient people were. After all we had great stats, we were so fortunate. People did mostly stick to the rules and everybody really pulled together and the community as a whole I think really…and the staff, therefore…working with Barbara and seeing how hard everyone was working to do their best to make the best strategy to support the hundreds of people who work at Kendal to make sure everybody was covered. Everybody got the same message. Everybody was listened to. And every complaint, every disagreement, every new way of looking at things, and there were plenty of doctors who had their own evaluations of things. I mean I have to say Stacy’s mantra was “calm preparedness,” and I have to say that’s what they did. As calm as they could be. So I think Kendal did a pretty great job. I saw firsthand how very much Kendal is so different from other places. How very much the staff at the top end of the staff were wanting and needing to integrate everybody on this committee. And there were, you know, the movers and shakers of Kendal—I could name names but I won’t. But the stars of Kendal who do all the programs, who do emcees, I mean they were on the committee, so there was so much respect and listening and addressing and making hard decisions together. That’s pretty special.

Segment Synopsis: This resident was chosen to be part of the New Normal Committee, a resident advisory council on Covid-19 decisions. As a part of this committee, she had to consider the diverging opinions of her fellowing residents, from those angered by the restrictions to those terrified of the virus. She notes that the Kendal staff made an effort to listen to every complaint and succeeded in keeping the community safe.

Keywords: Barbara Thomas; CDC; Calm; Calm Preparedness; Care Center; Change; Committees; Decisions; Different; Disagreement; Dissension; Fortunate; Hard Work; Infringed; Kendal responses; Limiting; Listening; Media; Messages; Messaging; Resilience; Resilient; Self-Limiting; Special; Staff; Stats; Terrified; Unknown; Unknowns; Variety

Subjects: Administration; Community; Covid Cases; Isolation; Personal Freedoms; Politics; Resident Disagreement; Rules and Restrictions; The New Normal Committee

00:23:37 - The New Normal Committee identified and addressed the needs of residents

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: Can you describe, because I know, what the new normal committee is, and what it meant for Kendal as an organization?

Resident: Yeah, so the new normal committee was put together by the staff, by the CEO, to help advise under the extraordinary circumstances that Kendal was under. To be aware of all the differing ripple effects of what was happening. So talking, spending a half an hour, talking about people, what other people were concerned about in the cottages, who we’re not reaching out to, who seemed to be struggling, who we’re not talking about. People who seemed to be depressed but would never say so and getting the help that they needed. To people who were very vocal and very angry and very upset and needing their particular circumstances addressed and explaining why they could or couldn’t or how they could or couldn’t address what they needed. And then the slow educational process of filtering all of that information out there in a way that was rounded, realistic, comprehensible, whether everybody actually read all 15 points in our bulletins. Hah! I don’t know, but somehow enough people followed enough restrictions and our staff here is amazing. Nobody here died because of Covid. They died with Covid but they would have died anyway. It’s pretty phenomenal given the terror of the pandemic. Anyways, the new normal committee was an invited functioning healthy regularly meeting committee. We all responded to each and made sure that the Kendal community got the information that we put out, distributing in the best possible way that we could.

Segment Synopsis: The New Normal Committee formulated solutions to help residents who were isolated or depressed during the pandemic yet unable to vocalize their needs. The committee also made an effort to address the complaints of Kendal's most outspoken residents. Additionally, the committee distributed pandemic-related information.

Keywords: Advise; Amazing; Angry; Barbara Thomas; Bulletins; Concerns; Cottages; Depressed; Education; Infections; Information; New Normal Committee; Staff; Struggling; Terror; Upset

Subjects: Administration; Community; Helping Others; Mental Health; Resident Disagreement; The New Normal Committee

00:25:52 - Pandemic-related objects: Computer for communication, altar for spirituality

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So what object did you choose to represent your pandemic experience and why?

Resident: So in one way, I could say it was my computer because it was my link to my world and my family. And my grandson who got used to talking and singing with grandma Didi—we did a lot of FaceTime. My goodness. And the other way, I would say, it would be– you know I have the little altar on my bureau. There’s a Buddha head and some other things. So I would say the symbology of my spiritual practice has helped with me. My meditating and my spiritual beliefs and listening to people online and taking classes online.

Caroline: What does your communication with your daughter and your grandson look like now? Is it more normal?

Resident: Uhh yes she just had another baby.

Caroline: Congratulations!

Resident: She can’t come here because the babies can’t be vaccinated yet. So that’s really changed. There’s no more…I mean he doesn’t remember Grandma’s room, the two-year-old. And the baby…well the coo and goo at me on the phone. It’s the way they grew up, you know. Max is my older grandson’s name and he’s, you know, if you’re wearing a face mask it doesn’t matter to him. I mean it’s life, he grew up with it. So is it normal? No. So they would’ve been coming here, but I go there. Now I can go there and I don’t have to quarantine when I come back. So that’s very nice. So it’s a little more normal. A lot of FaceTime.

Segment Synopsis: The resident chooses her computer and altar as the two objects that represent her pandemic experience. The computer allowed her to communication with her family, and her altar facilitated her spiritual practice. After recently welcoming a second grandchild into the world, visiting her daughter and her grandchildren has become somewhat more normal but not easy. They continue to FaceTime often.

Keywords: Altar; Babies; Change; Computer; FaceTime; Grandchildren; Link; Masks; Meditating; Normal; Online Classes; Quarantine; Spiritual Beliefs; Spiritual Practice; Vaccinations; Vaccines; Visitations; Visits

Subjects: Communication Technology; Coping Mechanisms; Family; New Habits; Spirituality

00:28:06 - Kendal's staff and values make it a unique community

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So there’s been a lot of talk in the news about elderly living communities during the pandemic. But we haven’t actually heard from people living in communities of older adults. So I’m wondering if you could describe your experience from the outside, what would you want them to understand about your experience at Kendal?

Resident: Having lived in another community before—I lived in another community for about 10 years when I was in my 20s when I had my first daughter—communities are communities for a reason. There’s a level of connection and the reality of what you do with those connections, how you foster them, how you cultivate them, how you want them or don’t want them. And the tone and tenor of the staff makes a huge difference to any kind of situation where you are dependent. We in the care center, we are dependent on other people to provide for us. And in this way, too, I think Kendal is very unique. I would say to watch how much everybody on the staff, even more, this last year really because of staff shortages, so to see your skilled nurses delivering meals on trays, cleaning off dishes for people, let alone the 10 thousand other things they have to do, medically important things they have to do to sustain people here. I mean the level of caring and giving, the very clear support and determinations given by the top staff to other staff saying you will get tested every week if you don’t get the vaccination…every time you have to be home for two weeks. I mean there was such care given and it was hard. Some people left, staff left due to their opinion of not wanting to be vaccinated or just because their world has changed too right? Their kids are home and their husbands are working. I mean whatever, I mean everybody’s lives have been so upended. Who knows what normal looks like in America anymore. But Kendal in particular has a core value that is real, the whole quaker value. A lot of integrity, a lot of cooperation, a lot of honoring who everybody is here. And that’s rare. I’m remembering the two times I’ve had operations in the hospital, hospitals are hospitals, the nurses who don’t know you. You come here and even though I couldn’t go back to my own room, the nurses knew who I was. That makes such a difference. I don’t have to explain and if I say something about what’s going in my body. They know I’m intelligent enough to understand and that I really meant what I said. Rather than getting “you don’t know you’re just a patient” that’s never the attitude here. So Kendal’s experience is unique. Not every community will be that way. So for me nothing but grateful that during this upending experience. I’m glad it came my way when I was at Kendal. So different from other people’s experiences.

Segment Synopsis: After living in another assisted living community, this resident can say that Kendal is unique in several ways. She notes that Kendal's staff is dedicated to providing individualized and considerate care to residents. She also commends Kendal's nurses and other caregivers for persevering through the hardships of working in healthcare during the pandemic. She also credits Kendal's adherence to Quaker values.

Keywords: America; Body; Care Center; Caregiving; Change; Connections; Core Values; Cultivate; Dependence; Foster; Grateful; Hospitals; Meals; Normal; Nurses; Quaker Values; Quarantine; Staff; Staff Shortages; Support; Testing; Trays; Unique; Upended; Vaccinations; Vaccine Hesitancy; Vaccines

Subjects: Adaptations; Administration; Community; Dining; Physical Health

00:32:46 - Covid-19 revealed the systemic issues that complicate humanity's future

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So I’m wondering at this point how are you feeling about the future of the pandemic and your own place at Kendal?

Resident: Yeah. Because the pandemic arrived at a critical moment in our history anyway, given what’s happened. Given that the pandemic revealed so much systemic difficulty with government problems, everything from racism to you know inequities on all levels, our healthcare system, all these things have always been there, America is wonderful and beautiful and has been --- for a long time. So for me the pandemic was just one more piece of an unknown variable that we are not going to control. We are learning to respond in more intelligent and fundamentally good ways because we’ve learned more about it, and, hopefully, as we learn more about the community in our very very divided constituency. I mean my fellow Americans are on deeply different places. So, realistically, I think we’re in for a really tough time for quite a while economically, socially, politically, for a long time. And it’s like, damn! Really? I signed up for another completely traumatic world event? Well, apparently I did because here I am. And I can’t sign off on that. Because this is what I agreed to do, I agreed to be here. So I don’t think it’s going to be an easy path. I think that the pandemic itself you know who knows about this virus? Maybe it will mutate again. Or maybe other viruses…I mean people have been saying, people who know about this have been saying this for a long time that it’s going to come. And you know the sino virus and Zika…my daughter was pregnant. She worked in India. I mean there are already a lot of things. So I don’t know. I think that one can only hope that enough people have learned something from having to respond to some big issue that we could collectively come back together. Realistically? I’m not entirely optimistic that that’s gonna happen in my lifetime. But I hope there’s always hope. Did you ever think the Berlin Wall would fall? Did you ever think Nelson Mandela would become president of South Africa? Did you ever think Nixon would resign? Those were impossible things for their time. So I’m a hopeful pessimist, a hopeful realist, I hope not a pessimist, I hope I’m a realist that is to say. And I do have hope. Humanity is an amazing experiment. We’ll see what we do with it. It’s a long experiment. What will we do? How will we pick up the pieces and look at them and reconfigure them, I don’t know. That’s your job! And your children’s job. And my grandsons’ jobs. We pass the baton onto you.

Caroline: We take it, we take it maybe unhappily, but we take it for sure.

Segment Synopsis: This resident notes that the future of the pandemic will be decided by the systemic problems that Covid-19 revealed: failures in the government response, inequities, racism, and political polarization to name a few. She calls herself a "hopeful realist" because she knows that humanity has a difficult path going forward, but she points to events like the Berlin Wall falling and Nixon resigning to say that people can accomplish impossible feats. Now, she passes the baton to the next generation.

Keywords: Critical Moment; Divided; Generations; Government Problems; Grandchildren; Healing; Healthcare; History; Hope; Humanity; Inequalities; Optimism; Pandemics; Political Polarization; Racism; Realist; Systemic Difficulty; Systemic Problems; Tough; Traumatic; Unknown; Viruses; World Events

Subjects: Future; Politics

00:37:26 - Watching Clinton's concession speech in the hospital

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Partial Transcript: Resident: When my husband was recovering from one of his bouts of chemo I guess in the hospital in Manhattan and my daughter had flown up. She had flown from Oberlin to New York to be with us. We were watching…Trump had just been elected. So it was like “ahh.” And so we were watching Hillary Clinton give her concession speech. And it was beautiful. It was the speech we wanted her to give all along but somehow she never did because she was fighting so much. Anyways it was a beautiful speech. My daughter was crying, and the nurse was standing there she looked at her and she said “You can cry now young lady, but you go out there, and you do the work.” And we were like, whoa! Because usually nurses, you know, they can’t say anything. You can’t take a position. But it was such a moving moment there we all were crying. My husband was being rolled away for the first time for his tumor removal and he said I just want to wake up and have a country I can live in. And a lot has happened since then. Anyway, so that’s a long answer for how I feel.

Segment Synopsis: The resident, her husband, and her daughter were in the hospital for her husband's cancer treatment when they watched Hillary Clinton give her concession speech after the 2016 presidential race. A hospital nurse gave her daughter motivating words. Her husband expressed that he wanted to wake up in a better world.

Keywords: Cancer; Chemo; Clinton; Country; Generations; Hospitals; Nurses; Politics; Trump

Subjects: Family; Future; Politics

00:39:10 - Rebuilding friendships and getting outside for as long as physically possible

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So, obviously, you are hopeful, realistic about the world. But what are you looking forward to in the next couple months or so? What are your next moves in this pandemic? What are your goals and aspirations.

Resident: I don’t think it’s pandemic-related. I am in assisted living and I’m living in a care center as I have physical issues and my mobility is dropping and dropping week by week by week. And they’re not gonna go away. So my perspective about the pandemic is sort of my perspective about my body and I’m going to do as much as I can for as long as I can. And that’s my goal (laughs). So I am rekindling my relationship with my independent living people very consciously. We’re seeing each other regularly, more often. I think we’re realizing how much more precious it is when we have the opportunity to do that. I’ll get outside on my scooter as much as my back allows me to. So I’ve been going on the perimeter road just to see the pond.

Caroline: Getting that horizon a little bit more?

Resident: Ohhh my gosh it’s so important because you can feel your place in the world. So taking advantage of what I can do as long as I can do it.

Segment Synopsis: This resident's goals for the future are tied to her physical health. For now, she is trying to rekindle relationships with her Independent Living friends and get outside as much as possible.

Keywords: Body; Care Center; Horizon; Independent Living; Mobility; Outside; Physical Issues; Relationships

Subjects: Friendships; Future; Outdoors; Physical Health