Janet Kelsey Werner

Oberlin College Library


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00:00:00 - Many life events lead to Kendal at Oberlin

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: All right, could you tell me how you came to live at Kendal?

Resident: Ahh my husband, financial person, always head of anything that was happening, if they needed a treasurer or a person who knew finances, we were trying to find–get a CCRC in Athens, OH, and we just kept getting the citizenry thought–as I think happened here–people didn’t want old people–and they thought it would change the tenor of the town–Athens is a little bit bigger, the university is much bigger, it’s a state school in Athens, OH. It’s not Ohio State; it’s Ohio University, founded in 1804, so it’s older than the Ohio State, but they kept telling us we could have this much room, then this much room, they kept saying, you can have a lot of room and then no, no, no, no that state’s fathers and others mostly mothers, and so we began to think, you know, maybe we can’t stay here as much as we’d like to because we want to be near a college town. We want to be in a college town. It was my husband’s university town, we loved it–I don’t know if you know anything about Athens. It’s at the very edge of the Appalachians so it’s just at the hills, but it’s a sweet town and we had gone down there after he had retired from the business world and so, and we were, we had a house that we rebuilt and enjoyed. But but and meanwhile I went back to school and got my master's in in nutrition and gerontology was the minor, which is the study of aging, and I was 61. I finished my second degree and so I knew what would happen to us as we aged and uhh his-his parents died rather early, as did mine, and so I knew probably he didn’t have a good, you know we just didn’t know what the future would be, and so he grew up in Lorain. And uhh our middle son was in the healthcare field and he said “mom, I don’t like the hospitals down there.” They were kind of small. He said I want you to be near a teaching hospital, Cleveland Clinic or UH. And Budd grew up in Lorain. And he started in public accounting, and he had been an accountant. He was in an accounting firm that accounted Oberlin College at one point. And we were both very involved in the Cleveland Orchestra, and we wanted good music, and we wanted culture. And so we looked at OH and Kendal had this wonderful reputation. And he was looking at CCRCs in Ohio to try to get one to come to Athens, and they had just built the one in Denison– the Kendal at Denison, and we knew they didn’t want–they wanted a college town but not–I’m talking about Kendal–but not a-they wanted a private college. A smaller town. And so we came up here and our son lives in Ohio City–I don’t know if you know Cleveland, if you know where the West Side Market is, that’s where our son lives, so there was one kid here. And our daughter, Mom, as long as you’re near an airport which you know so…so we came here.

Caroline: Wonderful.

Resident: And as I said, Budd grew up in Lorain so he knew about Oberlin and we certainly knew the reputation, although my husband was very involved in the Republican party and Oberlin certainly is NOT and so Maggie, who was our head of digital–you know Maggie Stark–she was head of–yes she was head of, sometimes words escape me, of marketing and she’s a graduate– so she was just so excited to have us come. So it was just the right thing for us to do. So we put two cottages together, but I said I’m not moving without a fireplace because I know what Cleveland weather’s like, and he said I want the patio to face East, so we could have the evening, which we have. And it just–it just worked out. So it was 14 years ago. And so it was a happy move. But we are not Oberlin College–Oberlin College was the reason we moved here. We would not have moved to Oberlin without Oberlin College. I mean Oberlin would probably not be without Oberlin College. A long answer.

Segment Synopsis: This resident originally wanted to move to a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Athens, OH. However, she says that Athens was reluctant to have a community of older adults in the town because it would "change the character." After going back to school for gerontology, the resident learned of the uncertainties of aging and finding the right retirement community became more urgent. The resident and her husband liked Kendal at Oberlin because of its proximity to Cleveland hospitals, the Cleveland Orchestra, and their son. Moreover, her husband grew up in Lorain and knew that Kendal had a good reputation. Once at Kendal, they made their new apartment feel like home and it was a "happy move."

Keywords: CCRC; Children; College Town; Hospitals; Husband; Music; Oberlin College; Reputation; Retirement Community

Subjects: Family; Future; Moving; Physical Health; Politics

00:06:20 - Double grief: The pandemic hits directly after the loss of a spouse

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So the rest of my questions are related to Covid because that’s what my project is focused on. So I’m wondering if you can remember those first few weeks of the pandemic and just describe–

Resident: Well in the first place Budd died in August. He had Parkinson’s and it was–Parkinson’s can get pretty cruel at the end of a person’s life. He was 87 and so it was kind of like boom, boom. I was just beginning to think–what am I gonna do with his clothes what am I gonna do with his stuff what am I gonna, what am I gonna, you know I was just coming out of the heavy grief that you go through even though he had been in the Care Center, so I knew and I would go over and have meals with him. As our daughter said, mom you were so fortunate not to be his caregiver but to be his emotional caregiver, and so I would try to go over there every, to have meals with him–but I never could have lived with him. Some of the people who have gone over to live with their spouses–in the first place, that wasn’t happening then, but even thinking it now, I never could have done it. And he wouldn’t have wanted–he changed so much at the–one of the things that happens–it's happened to me as–I have to try to think of Bud–I call him, “when he was whole.” And you know that was probably starting five years before the–it was a progression. And as you know he went over there because he fell. And as you know that happens, and then he broke the long–I think it’s called the femur. And then when he had–when he healed because of– he was 6’2’ he was very tall, he became very thin which often happens, his foot caved in, so he certainly couldn’t walk with me because by that time, my back was giving out, so I certainly couldn’t handle him, so he had to be walked. And if you have Parkinson’s he dipped so much he wanted a little motor cart, but they didn’t trust his ability. Because tremor was part of his Parkinson’s, so he was–he was kind of trapped. And probably because he’d been a CFO of a fortune 500, so he was a big guy in the business–and did a lot of other things. He was on the Cleveland Orchestra Board as I told you, so there was just, his life was just not– not pleasing.

Segment Synopsis: This resident lost her husband to Parkinson's disease directly before the pandemic hit. She was transitioning from a stage of grief to a phase of taking care of logistics and wondering what to do next. For the previous five years, she had been the emotional caregiver for her husband living with Parkinson's disease in the Kendal Care Center. She describes this period of time as extremely difficult as her husband's physical issues forced him to stop doing all of the things he loved to do.

Keywords: Care Center; Caregivers; Death; Husband; Parkinson's

Subjects: Family; Grief; Loss; Physical Health

00:10:06 - Navigating grief and total isolation

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Partial Transcript: Resident: You probably know but we closed down. And we became very insular and isolated and our son lives in-in-our oldest, the dutiful son and he would come to see me except that we kind of did it illegally because we figured out a way to–I have an enclosed patio and we could make it warm enough because he was allowed to be out there. I mean it was just very difficult. And you know what happened to so many, especially in the care center, I mean we’re now allowed to go through it again. But the first time I went through it–it was like just seeing how so many people had aged so badly because of isolation I think and not being able to see their loved ones. So I think we’ve gone far afield.

Caroline: You’re good, we’re getting into it-

Resident: So, so we did the best we could, and I happen to be an optimist, but the thing that happened to me too, Caroline, is because of Budd’s illness, I dropped-I was head of food committee. There were several things that I was very involved in that I dropped to be his emotional caregiver. And so it’s like woo, woo, now what do we do? What do I do with my life now? So that was, that was kind of a floundering around. I am in a group that was very–maybe some of the other people you’ve talked with–it’s with First Church. We meet every week. We meet for an hour and a half. We read about 100 pages a week. And some of the stuff–I’m not as much of a social activist as some of the women, so some of the books I read because they’re a little too deep for me or they’re a little too whatever. But I love the discussions and I love the women, and they’ve become a support group. And so all of that has helped me get through those first, that first terrible year plus of Covid when we were so shut down.

Segment Synopsis: After lockdown, visitors were not allowed onto the campus, although this resident and her son bended the rules to continue seeing each other. The resident describes the toll of the isolation on people living in the care center. At the same time, this resident was struggling to reestablish her life after her husband passed away. She joined a weekly book group with her church, which she describes as a support group.

Keywords: Book Groups; Breaking Rules; Care Center; Enclosed; First Church; Isolation; Optimist; Son; Support Group; Uncertainty; Visitors

Subjects: Coping Mechanisms; Family; Friendship; Future; Isolation; Mental Health; New Habits; Rules and Restrictions; Self-Discovery

00:12:52 - Overcoming monotonous meals // Becoming more introverted during the pandemic

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: I was wondering if you could describe during those first shutdown days and then beyond-

Resident: Well the first thing I did, because Barbara told me it was gonna happen, so I said okay Rick let’s go buy Wine.

Caroline: Excellent first step!

Resident: So, we did that. And then he, because, you know, I’m so fortunate, that he could be my gopher. And–what could they, could they drop things off? And they could for a while. So that you know, and I–and you know we had meals delivered for us. As I said, food is very important in my life because that was what I did, and our meals got pretty–

Caroline: I know that was a bit of an issue, nutrition too.

Resident: Yes, and boring and dull, and I’ve always been very involved in I think creative and flavorful and and hopefully nutritious ish? Ish–. And so I–I have always gussied things–I call it, what do I call it? Embellish. I embellish. And I buy flavorings. And I kind of learned what they keep talking about “finishing oils” and I’m not quite sure what, where you put the finishing oil. But I–and one of the things Caroline, and maybe we’ll get to it, is I’ve become kind of hermit-ish, because I was having some teeth problems and I’m doing and redoing my mouth, which was wonderful. Since we wore masks. But now food doesn’t taste as good. I have more trouble chewing. So I’m eating here (home), and that’s probably not a good idea. And so that’s one of the, another reason I thought maybe it’s time for me to move. And be with more people. I think I’m moving into a corridor where there are apparently very friendly people, although there are now four new people, me being one of them, and of course I’m not “new” because I’m moving from here, and most people know me. But the other three people are new! So there’s been a lot of turnover in my corridor. So you know I don’t quite know if it’s going to be as friendly as it was when there were all these people who know each other but we’ll see. And so–

Segment Synopsis: This resident and her son innovated to make life better during lockdown, buying wine and getting good food dropped off to her apartment. As a nutritionist, good food is very important to this resident and the delivered meals got very monotonous during the pandemic. The resident also says that she's become more introverted since the pandemic began due to her health issues. Therefore, she looks forward to moving to the apartments at Kendal where she will be closer to a community of people.

Keywords: Barbara Thomas; Food; Introvert; Meal Delivery; Physical Issues; Son

Subjects: Adaptations; Coping Mechanisms; Dining; Isolation; Masks; Moving; New Habits

00:15:44 - A widow's perspective on the differences between single people and married couples at Kendal during the pandemic

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: Yeah, that’s kind of how people’s habits have changed. And it’s really hard to get back into the social habits when you’ve become so ingrained in the introverted and the isolated and the singular, you know?

Resident: And when you become too, at 65 years, so that was a long time, and I always thought in double because I was 21 and Budd was 22, and it’s–there is a very different--maybe you’re hearing this I don’t know who you’ve chosen to talk with, but there’s a very different kind of ethos between couples and singles. And it seems like most of my good friends were couple friends and they’re still couples, and I just think it’s not fair for me to say, “oh, I want to talk to you,” when I mean because they’re, most of them, their husbands are my age and they're kind of my age, and they need each other. And so I don’t want to take them away from their husbands. And I’m just trying to think, who’s single, who’s single? And then there’s a difference too if you move here with a husband and he dies versus if you move here as a single and you had a husband, but we didn’t know him. And then people who’ve never been married. You know it would be interesting too, Caroline because I think what happened to a lot of women, I’m generalizing my age, is they outgrew their first husbands because they said, you know what, I’ve had babies, now I’m gonna do this. And their husbands said, I’m not so sure I want you to do that. And they said, you know what I’m gonna do that, and there you go! But I had a husband who said, go for it! Fortunately, he made the money, I didn’t have to. So, in a way that’s almost not fair. But you know in a way, but I could do fun stuff! Because he was in public accounting and then he’s–I told you what he did. Nobody ever wanted to know what he did. But I was in the food business. People always wanted to know. Especially if you’re a newspaperwoman because those were the glory days of–I was with the Cleveland press, which was the evening newspaper. They always–well, tell me about, this person–because it was exciting. Those were exciting newspapers–newspapers aren’t so exciting anymore because they’re all fighting for their lives. For their, or for their–to keep going. But I don’t know what your parents do or if you have parents or whatever is going on in their lives, but you know the whole working world has changed, well especially in these last two years. So now I’ve talked a lot, so what’s your last question?

Segment Synopsis: This resident had a difficult time adjusting to the single life after being married to her husband for more than 60 years. The resident talks about the major differences in experiences between single people and married couples at Kendal. She remembers not wanting to take her female friends away from spending time with their husbands. She also thinks that many older women outgrow their husbands. However, this was not her personal experience because her husband always encouraged her to pursue a career, which is how she ended up working at the Cleveland Press.

Keywords: Change; Death; Husband; Marriage; Singles; Widows

Subjects: Finances; Loss; Single Residents

00:18:52 - Taking on big projects: Scrapbooking the family history and moving to a new apartment

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: You’re actually the third person I’ve interviewed today, and the earlier women brought up how it’s been so different for singles versus for people who were paired up. And I’m wondering–because you were technically a single–how did you maintain relationships? What were your coping mechanisms in that way?

Resident: Since Budd died?

Caroline: Since the pandemic I guess.

Resident: (long pause) Okay, probably not so well. I mean, again, I’m an optimist by–and you know, again, right before Budd died, because we wanted to keep him, we wanted to keep him involved, and he couldn’t because he was there, and he never, I mean he always had people doing this for him. And so you know when he retired this was just all coming and being. And so I bought the iPad so I could take this over to him, so you know this has been great because I have my, my family, my extended family, which–and I’m the matriarch–I was one of 5 and I have a younger brother who unfortunately, he’s–he just–he’ll be 83 next, next week, and he is having–he’s having–memory problems. And some more physical problems. So I’ve been kind of the historian for our family, and that’s been my–my wonderful niece who lives in Paso Robles, California, who has put together, as I told you my maiden name is Kelsey, and is putting together a, she’s a big scrapbooker, and it’s called Shutterfly, and doing a big thing on the Kelsey kindred and for some reason–maybe it was for whatever reason, I got a lot of the stuff, so I sent it all to her. And then we’ve been going back and forth. So that’s taken some time, which has been a good time because I figure if I don’t do it, what’s going to happen to it? It’s kind of like the way I feel about moving. When this apartment, which is going to be a super apartment apparently, everybody’s excited about it, and so am I. I thought, I’ll never be as good as I am now, why not do it now? And when I found out, because as I said, as I said–kind of out of a lot of Budd–and my husband’s name was Budd with two Ds because that was his mother’s maiden name, we kind of put all of that stuff here, and then Covid came and I just didn’t pay much attention to it–I don’t know what I was doing, I just said, well I can put that off. So I’ve been going through a lot, a lot, a lot of stuff. And I’m excited because I think–I mean he did a lot of things, we have just, you know, things named after him, things that had his name on them–blah, blah, blah. And you know I’m thinking, we can just leave that. You know, I mean, I have my memories, but I don’t have to take that stuff with me. And I can say to my kids, do you want it? And If you don’t, we’ll find another place–And Ohio University wants some of it and that’s fine, I’ll give it to them. But you know, in a way it’s kind of like, this is–even though with the tragedy that happened to us in July, it’s kind–and certainly I will always love and remember Kevin, but he wasn’t a part of this life, and so it’s just kind of, kind of be a, a new part of my life. And you know I can take, I can take of Budd what I want to take of Budd.

Segment Synopsis: This resident recognizes that she has not done a good job maintaining relationships during the pandemic. However, she has picked up several projects that keep her busy and moving forward. She and her niece have been cataloging their family history by scrapbooking. The resident has also been cleaning house, getting rid of many of her husband's old things so that she can move to a new apartment at Kendal. She wants to bring the meaningful reminders of her husband while creating a new space for herself.

Keywords: Daughter; Excited; Husband; Matriarch; Memories; Optimist; Scrapbooking

Subjects: Coping Mechanisms; Family; Future; Grief; Hobbies; Moving; Self-Discovery

00:24:49 - The goals of Kendal leadership // Lockdown of the care center limited access to the Kendal campus and exercise programs

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So could you talk a little bit about how you felt about Kendal’s response to the pandemic?

Resident: Uhhhh I chafe, I chafed at some of the rules and regulations. But I’ve also been thankful for some of the rules and regulations. And I think my family have been because–and Barbara is a very prideful person–I hope she’s CEO as long as I’m living–because I think she’s spectacular, but also I think she has a very strong feeling about how good this Kendal is, and she wanted it to be a flagship, you know what a flagship is? You know, top of the heap. And then, of course, we had our first Covid case. And I think she just would have loved it–of course we all would have loved it–but that couldn’t be. And I do think that the whole world’s gonna have to live with Covid, and it’s going to call it an endemic now, rather than a pandemic just because it’s you know we’ll never get rid of that little bug. But so draconian may be too strong a word. Ummm I–because where we live, in order to get into Heiser, we have to go all–and you probably know that–until the Care Center opened up, we had to go all the way around, and because I use a rollator, uhh it was very difficult in the terrible weather. And fortunately, we opened that up just about when February really got strong. You know, I mean, it started about the first of February and that’s when the real winter started here, which I’m very thankful for. And so that was particularly physically difficult here. I am a strong person in feeling. I want to keep myself as good as I can be, so I go over and exercise every day in the Care Center. I mean in the PT room, maybe you’ve seen me go over there every day. I mean I don’t knock myself out, but I’m on the Newstep for half an hour. Fortunately, I’ve found large print books because I don’t wear glasses, but there’s a book there, a bookshelf on the Newstep that I’m using, and I found large print books. And I’m reading some really good books. And so I think, as I said I’ve–I’ve been unhappy at some of what we’ve been made–or not made to do but made not to do.

Caroline: You were talking about the care center and how it’s changed.

Resident: And now it seems–now maybe it’s because I’m back there and walking through–but it seems like it’s gotten more lively.

Segment Synopsis: The resident was frustrated with and grateful for the pandemic rules and restrictions. She recognizes that Barbara Thomas and the Kendal administration wanted to be a leading retirement community by having no Covid cases. The pandemic lockdown was physically challenging because the resident could no longer walk through the care center to get to the central Kendal building. After the Care Center reopened, she has returned to exercising regularly and reading large-print books.

Keywords: Barbara Thomas; Care Center; Disagreement; Draconian; Exercise; Frustrated; Gratitude; Lockdown; Physical Issues; Reading; Shuttered Doors; Success

Subjects: Administration; Covid Cases; Hobbies; Physical Health; Resident Disagreement; Rules and Restrictions

00:28:26 - Looking forward to moving and finding a new community of friends

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Partial Transcript: Resident: The person whose apartment I am going to move into is, and he had a two-bedroom, and I’m a big person, and I like space, and I like art, and I like stuff. And his living room and then they had a bedroom right next to it. But he took the wall out. So it’s really about the same size as this, what I’m losing is one bedroom. But we’ll get there. And then the space, because I have so much space, because we’ve put these two big apartments together and then the-the single-you know was our bedroom, which was huge. So I won’t have that much–this much space, but, but I want to be on the first floor. And the people in the apartments have been so nice about welcoming me. And so–

Caroline: You think you might be able to maintain a little bit more of a community?

Resident: I think so. And I think in the first place I’ll be safer. Because, you know, who knows? And certainly as one of the women on the–I always say you’ll be close to the food, well I’m not sure I’ll need that. But at any rate, I’m pleased about, and then I said, do you think there’s anything about the cottage, where I’ve lived for 14 years, versus an apartment, and they say no, no, no. So I’m glad to know that it’s not like, oh ho ho we live in one place or the other. The thing that I found here, Caroline, and maybe I’ll whisper it, I don’t have as friendly a neighborhood as I might have.

Caroline: Do you think that’s a Kendal thing or a neighborhood thing?

Resident: I think that’s a neighborhood thing. And as I told you I do think there’s a difference between singles and married people. And Kendal–I don’t know that there’s anything they can do about it. But there’s a feeling of, not that we’re lesser, but that we’re different? And we’ve heard this again from others that you know for instance when we could start having dinner with everybody, then you could ask other people to have dinner with you. Well, I have to find three more people! You know…

Caroline: Yeah! You can’t just do two couples.

Resident: And often times you think, well does that couple really want to have dinner with me? You know that kind of thing. So but what I’m missing right now, Caroline, is finding a good friend. Because my goodest friends are married. And I just don’t think it’s fair cuz they’ve got. And, and, and their husbands are maybe some stage of needing them. And I remember when I first came, and I thought, why are these women hanging onto their husbands so much? And then I found out why. Because–

Caroline: You went through it yeah…

Resident: I went through it. You know, usually the husbands don’t–just remember that. Well there’s a long time to be married so you don’t have to be in a hurry. Because I have a 25-year-old granddaughter in law school who’s, who’s, whose wonderful gentleman, he happens to be Chinese American, he’s in medical school so who knows if they’ll ever hook up because she’s got law school and he’s got medical school, and she has a 23-year-old sister who just graduated from Northwestern in Chicago. And then we don’t have Kevin anymore who was 25 and he has a brother 23 and so who knows…who knows if I’ll ever…if they’ll ever get married..and that’s okay. That’s okay. It’s just when I was that age, that’s what you did. And your grandparents, maybe? If you have them?

Segment Synopsis: This resident looks forward to moving to the apartments at Kendal to find community. Developing relationships has been challenging for her, as her neighborhood is not very friendly and she has experienced the stigma for single people at Kendal. She says that she's yearning for a friend. After losing her husband, she describes not wanting to take women away from spending time with their spouses.

Keywords: Apartments; Bubbles; Food; Neighbors; Singles; Space; Stigma

Subjects: Community; Family; Friendship; Moving; Single Residents

00:33:05 - The pandemic exposed political polarization and other major challenges for future generations

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: I have a couple more pandemic questions. If you could describe your pandemic experience in one word, what word would you choose and why?

Resident: Life-changing? I mean that tells you why. We’ll never go back. And I would love to think that we’re–I’m, I’m, I’m Christian I believe strongly in church. I believe in the goodness of people…? But I think we’re being stretched. And I just, I just saw ugliness come out. And I’m very concerned about what it’s…how it’s polarized the United States and also because I was born in 1932, when and I certainly remember, I was a little-ish kid, in the second world war, how much we were all rooting for each other and we all loved each other and we all loved the United States even though there were a lot of flaws but we didn’t know about it. I grew up in the Waspy West side of Cleveland. And never wanted because my father was a professional person, so in a way privileged, but then I moved to Oberlin and found out some real privilege. I mean you haven’t gone to a private college without a lot of sacrifice or privilege of some sort in your family. So that–but I feel very blessed and fortunate but I’m not so sure that I–and I’m certainly concerned–I’m saying it in many–I’m saying it in a lot more words than one, about the environment. And I’m sure you’re hearing that from everybody. And, and my husband who was a realist, I’m glad I’m 85, or I’m glad I’m 86, he lived to be 87. And I’m gonna say it this way, I’m glad I’m 89, but I don’t think I will live to face some of the deep problems your generation is gonna–and I wish you well. And I just hope that there’s enough good thinking and enough less-than-selfish people who will make it work.

Segment Synopsis: The resident describes this pandemic as life-changing for herself and the world. It exposed the degree of political polarization in the United States, something that was not prevalent during her upbringing. She is grateful for her old age because she cannot imagine the challenges that younger generations will face.

Keywords: Critical Moment; Generations; Humanity; Life-changing; Polarized; Political Polarization; Politics; Privilege; Realist; Transformative

Subjects: Future; Politics

00:39:10 - Kendal is a special place to live and work.

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So on that note, part of the reason I wanted to do this project was to–because there’s been so much focus on communities of older adults during the pandemic–to actually hear from people who live in these communities throughout the pandemic. So from your perspective, what would be something you would want the general public to know about what it’s like to live in one of these communities of older adults during Covid?

Resident: You know uhh I-I-I-I have tried to have friends outside of Kendal, which is not so easy if you came here and moved to Kendal. I didn’t live in Oberlin. And so I’ve tried to keep some people on the outside. And I’m pretty good at asking questions. And I talked to some people who–I think of myself–and it was very hard for me to give up a job even though as I said, I was not the principle wage earner in our family. And I could kind of pick and choose. I would love to have worked at Kendal. I just, I just get that feeling about the people who work here, and I’ve never heard grumble, grumble, grumble from people and it seems like–I’ve kind of forgotten your question, but this a good place to work. And I also know from a lot of people that well for instance the Scott, who’s the chef, our head chef, and he and I and Greg who’s the head food guy–I don’t if you know him–both came, the three of us came together at the same–14 years is a long time for somebody–well I’m thinking of my kids, you know and their work experience. So I think a lot of people have worked here a long time, which to me shows that it’s a good place to work. So…

Caroline: Yeah, that answers–because I feel like there’s been a lot of stereotypes of what it’s like to work and live in elderly communities–

Resident: And then, I’ve heard from some people, just to add a little bit more to that–who’ve worked for other communities who say, “this is by far the best place they’ve worked.” My friend Christopher who’s helping with my art, his mother is in a facility I do not know the end on the East side, and I–cuz Christopher’s been here several times–he and Tom, his partner Tom are good friends, were good friends with Budd and would come to visit us. And the last time Christopher and I were walking over to my new–my new cottage, or my new apartment. And he happened–our son lives in Ohio city, which I’ve told you, and so do Tom and Christopher, and they see each other. And Christopher and Tom–I think they–Christopher is much younger than Tom but Tom is three years younger than I and I think they kind of–they feel like they have to have an old lady as part of their enrichment of their life (laughs), and so–after Christopher, I took him over to visit, and I said what do you think? I showed him the place when I was trying to decide. And he wrote–he mailed my son Rick who they live within three blocks of each other in Ohio city, and he said– “I really, really, really, really think your mother should move there.” Now you and I might say, “I really think,” but he said “I really, really, really, really think”--okay Christopher, so he’s the one that’s gonna help me with my furniture and my art placements, since he really, really, really, really thinks I should move there. But I asked him the last time I was here I said is this anything like where your mother lives? And I think and his brothers–you know they could put their mother wherever–I mean you know this is not an inexpensive place, I mean you know that. And he said no, no–it’s nothing where my mother lives. And the way he said it made me think he just felt that we were so much more–I didn’t say why. But it, just I think he and Tom, his partner Tom, are very happy that I’m here, and I just don’t think there’s any place like…is that kind of what you’re asking me?

Segment Synopsis: This resident contends that there's no place like Kendal. She says that the Kendal community is transformative for staff members and that the staff at Kendal are uniquely happy at their place of work. Moreover, she has had friends from the outside tell her that Kendal is a special place to live.

Keywords: Staff; Unique

Subjects: Community; Finances; Friendship

00:44:15 - The permanent impact of loss and Covid: Comfort in being alone

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Partial Transcript: Resident: I don’t think there’s any place like Kendal except the one that’s near University circle that has the place further outside–you know what I’m talking about. But, but it isn't Oberlin College. And that’s what I think is such a plus. As I said I don’t–we wouldn’t have thought of this without the college. Even though it’s a very different kind of a college than Ohio University with Athens, OH. But it still has that same–and Budd and I took classes until I just like I had to be with him–and I now because of this I don’t think I’ll probably go back because I was always in the King building and is there an elevator and besides I kind of went through everything I wanted. Now maybe there would be some things if I’d look at the current curriculum and see that there’d be some things I’d want to take. But-but as I told you it was–I’m still kind of “ahhhhh” what I do now that I don’t have Budd? How do I fill my days? How do I find meaningful stuff to do? But I kind of filled in the chinks. And now you know and then and then you’re–I don’t have the energy, I love to sleep until 9 o’clock in the morning. And so–and like because I told you–my big outing of the day–I what’s it called, Zoom in church now, and then I thought well I was there today I can go there next Sunday. But that’s another thing that happened with Covid. You get used to being here, and then all of a sudden, well, we can go out a little bit and a little bit and a little bit. But it becomes very comfortable to be here. And, of course, winter is winter.

Segment Synopsis: This resident has loved living in a college town, even taking many classes at Oberlin College. Now, she doesn't think she'll go back, however, because of how much she has changed since her husband passed. She does not have the same energy levels and she has become become comfortable being alone.

Keywords: Change; Church; Lost; Oberlin College; Unique; Zoom

Subjects: Grief; Isolation; Loss; New Habits; Self-Discovery; Spirituality

00:46:54 - A vibrant and privileged community at Kendal

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Partial Transcript: Resident: And then you know this happened, and then you know putting that in the car, and I think I’m gonna give up my car. Again, I got a huge–I’m gonna give it to Kendal, if they want it. But, when I took for the last fixing, they said it’s gonna be this much money. And I thought ahh I’m not sure I want to do that. And so, and of course, will tell them what needs to be done. I’m not gonna give them something–and we have a very–and that’s another wonderful thing about Kendal that I don’t think happens with a lot of places. We don’t have a social director. You know we do a lot, 84, 85, 86 committees? I mean we’re a busy group. And they do it because they love to do it. I think one of the problems is that we all think we’re in management. And you know then they said, but you’re not in management. But, but for the most part we have a lot of people with a lot of–I’ve always said that everybody here is smarter than I am, which is wonderful! To feel that energized, in talking to people and being with people. You know it’s not–it’s, but, but on the other hand Caroline we are privileged people. You know, we really can’t dwell on that too much because I mean just think of–we’ve never seen a war unfolding in front of us like we are right now. Just think about those people. I mean, just try to think if somebody was about to bomb your city. What would you do? And how could you think–well tomorrow I think I’d like to have green beans for supper. I mean, just, I mean this is the first time in my thinking that we’ve been so close to watching a war happen 24/7. And just thinking of: how can I think about tomorrow? And how privileged we are–one of our biggest things, if I’m gonna have salmon or roast beef dinner tomorrow night, you know?

Segment Synopsis: The resident discusses that Kendal is unique in that Kendal residents run all of the independent living activities. This resident enjoys the enthusiasm and intelligence her neighbors. On the other hand, she recognizes that they each come from privilege, pointing to the war in Ukraine as evidence that other people in the world have true suffering.

Keywords: Activities; Committees; Energized; Privilege; Ukraine

Subjects: Administration; Community; Politics

00:49:31 - Coping mechanisms: Needle-pointing and Netflix

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Partial Transcript: Caroline: So my last–

Resident: Okay! With the last question–

Caroline: No, no, if you just have an object that would represent your Covid experience. If not, totally fine–I kind of caught you off guard but–

Resident: Like an object? Like a physical object?

Caroline: Yeah like someone picked a candle, another person picked a little altar that they have as their like spiritual–

Resident: Well it would be–would we call…?

Caroline: That would work, yeah!

Resident: That’s what kept me sane.

Caroline: That’s your needle pointing.

Resident: Yes, my needle pointing and Netflix. I mean that’s how I end my day. If that is, if that’s an object.

Caroline: Did that increase with Covid?

Resident: Oh yes! Well, fortunately, my son said, Mom, maybe you’d like Netflix. And I thought well, I mean, maybe I would. And most commercial television–and certainly NPR. What would I do without NPR with all–I call her Miss A because I don’t want her to turn on. But you know classical music and then public radio. And then public television. So that’s more than one object. But that’s kept me–But I said that to watch out too because I need to be with people and I just can’t–and that’s another reason I’m moving.

Caroline: I’m very excited for you, I think that's wonderful. Well, thank you so much for interviewing with me and making the time.

Segment Synopsis: This resident's pandemic objects are needle-pointing and Netflix, two things that kept her sane during the pandemic. Now, she's looking forward to integrating close personal relationships back into her life by moving to a new apartment at Kendal.

Keywords: Music; Needle-Pointing; Netflix; Relationships

Subjects: Coping Mechanisms; Hobbies; Moving