Lockdown at Kendal: New ways of communicating

In response to the restrictions, Kendal's administration and residents developed new ways of maintaining physical distance and human connection. These innovations in communication allowed Kendal residents to maintain a sense of community. Some innovations worked better than others, and some (like Zoom) are here to stay.

Zoom maintained communication across Kendal's community: 

Zooming to help others: "Kendal very quickly kicked into doing a lot with Zoom. And so I was part of a group that helped organize an afternoon time when any resident could just drop in on Zoom at 4 on weekdays. We didn’t get a lot of people, but we got a few people who really needed to talk." - Elizabeth Hole

Multidimensional growth in online communication: "Little more email communication, little more going online and buying a couple things, or communicating on Zoom, we put on a couple of plays on Zoom that I took part in." - Dan Reiber

Activities transition to Zoom: "But the other huge thing is, so I'm in two book groups that met by Zoom. I was in another sort of theory group that met by Zoom that involved Zooming with somebody in France who was the leader of this theory group, this incredible intellectual who just died. So two book groups, theory group, of course you know the personal groups. And then also by Zoom, my piano lessons." - Former Oberlin Resident

The implementation of "bubbles:"

Kendal developed a "bubble" system for residents to have in-person connections with select individuals. Two households could form a bubble, and people within the same bubble could interact indoors without masks.

The inception of bubbles: "A resident...read about this concept in Amsterdam–somewhere in the Netherlands I think–creating these bubbles where you could pair up with residents. It started out with two or four other residents. And make an agreement that only you would meet and you could meet in each other’s cottages without masks and stuff, but you’d have to agree that if somebody got Covid you would all be isolated kind of thing. And of course, that didn’t satisfy everybody so there was a lot of discussion about that and some people had five friends–so who do you leave out and some people weren’t comfortable asking people you know." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Adopted into a bubble: "Eventually, I did form a bubble–I’m a musician. I play piano and I do a lot of accompanying and other things around here–and a couple who lived near me who went to Oberlin adopted me. So I had a bubble with those two people. But those were the only people you could eat with at the beginning only outside." - Dianne Haley

Seeking "normal:" "I just bubbled with my neighbor next door. We used to eat dinner together every Friday evening. And I just felt the need to have a normal–see somebody without a mask (laughs). And talk like a normal person. I sort of felt like not normal anymore." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Guidance on Stephens Care Center Visitation

Residents had to follow the ever-changing state and local guidelines for outside visitors. In response, Kendal's administration developed several innovations to allow regular meet-ups with family and friends, including outdoor visitations for residents of the Stephens Care Center.

Covid-19 restrictions limited the spontaneity of human interactions:

Due to rules and restrictions, residents comment on the impact of the pandemic in limiting the spontaneity and fluidness of social interactions. This phenomenon may be best demonstrated by Dianne's participation in the so-called "Hatching" social group for single Kendal residents. During these social groups, the people in charge wanted to instate "rules about how long someone could speak" and "didn't want people to know who the other people were gonna be." - Dianne Haley

On the structure of Kendal's family visitations, Mary Simons says, "talk about taking all the spontaneity out of interactions, I think I did it once and it was just too unnatural, just– just awful." - Mary Simons