A community fragmented: Singles vs. couples

Residents comment on the diverging experiences between married and single residents. In general, single residents demonstrated a higher risk of social isolation and mental health struggles. Some interviewees argue that single residents were always more segregated from the Kendal community, even before the pandemic.

Residents affirmed that the lockdown had a greater impact on single residents than on couples:

Preexisting divisions between singles and couples: "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." - Janet Kelsey Werner

Suffering alone: "So it’s been very hard for single people. And people who were staff who came in and out and the administration, those people I pointed out to someone, you get to go home every night and see your family and there was no effort made to deal with the fact that people were suffering who were living alone. So that was the hardest thing overall." - Dianne Haley

Being single exacerbated isolation: "One of our biggest first concerns was people feeling isolated. Especially people living alone. You know couples had each other, but people living alone were single. And we weren’t allowed to meet with other people kind of thing. And it became clear that people were struggling." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Isolation exacerbated grief: "I think that I’ve finally realized that single women who have always been single really were better than the single women who used to be married and lost their partners. I mean one lady in particular would call me all the time because the whole thing just brought back the memories of her husband and he’s gone and how she’s alone and now she has nobody." - Former Geriatric Nurse

Single interviewees commented on their own experiences at Kendal: 

Wishing single residents had received more support: "I actually said this from the beginning pretty early on that they should’ve been getting in touch with every single resident every couple of weeks...They should’ve had a committee of just single people to talk about what they were, what they were wishing they could have or do." - Dianne Haley

A general sense of difference: "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?" - Janet Kelsey Werner

Accustomed to being alone: "I’ve been single my whole life, so being alone is what I am." - Former Geriatric Nurse