A community united: The New Normal Committee

At the start of the pandemic, Kendal's administration created The New Normal Committee, a resident council dedicated to providing feedback on pandemic-related issues. Judi Bachrach and Kendal's Former Geriatric Nurse were on this committee. The New Normal Committee allowed the administration to receive feedback from residents and disseminate information through selected leaders on the committees. 

Members of the New Normal Committee gained a sense of knowledge and agency over Kendal's decisions:

Connecting different parts of the Kendal community: " 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." - Judi Bachrach

Talking through Covid policies as a form of coping: "Well, it also I was thinking how when you talk about coping, I mean we met every week. And it always was sort of like a support group. You know, and we were, we had say-so in what was going on, which sort of was a good feeling. You know it certainly helped me cope." - Former Geriatric Nurse

The New Normal Committee allowed for a constant exchange between the administration and residents:

Responsible for distributing Covid information: "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." - Judi Bachrach

An administrative staff receptive to feedback: "We were not the decision-makers, that was made clear that the administration would make the final decisions. But we really did feel that we were listened to. And they very much followed a lot of our suggestions. But then we sort of became the people residents contacted if they had issues and stuff. Some, not all, that pleasant. But generally fine. But I sort of felt like people looked at me differently because I was on this committee." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Addressing the widespread needs of Kendal residents: "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." - Judi Bachrach

Interviewees expressed concerns with The New Normal committee's makeup:

Single residents underrepresented: And then they formed a New Normal Committee. And this goes back to...It was about 10 or 11 residents but only one of them was an unmarried single person. And we…and several have said…you know, you don’t know: that committee is not gonna know what it’s like [to be single during the lockdown]. - Dianne Haley

A significant weight on the shoulders of the only single committee members: "I felt really a responsibility to all the single people because they saw me as their representative on this committee. And they’re the ones who seemed to be having the most issues as far as isolation and stuff. So even though we formed the bubble, it still, there are still a lot of people who felt isolated for various reasons. You know then do we make up a list of all the people who aren’t comfortable asking and try to pair people? It’s like trying to form a marriage partner." - Former Geriatric Nurse

A committee stacked with overcautious residents: “There was a committee that was formed, the New Normal committee, and I really think that was overstocked with people that were paranoid. Where enough weight was in the side of paranoia, were overkill on that committee, my opinion, you know, just, what I was observing. There was a time where they could have been modified the rules, or changed the rules, or, but they didn’t.” - Dan Reiber