I always look forward to Spring. It is a time of rebirth. The trees bud, flowers begin to bloom, birds are singing and the chill of winter fades away. I am especially excited this year, as the COVID restrictions lift, it is an ideal time to experience newness and gratitude. I know many people share my sentiment. It has been a year since COVID hit Westchester County. Our lives have completely changed.
Our team has worked tirelessly through this pandemic. Our residents have been incredibly resilient and flexible in learning new ways to live well within the parameters of social distancing and sheltering. I have so much gratitude and admiration for them. Together, we made lemonade out of lemons. Our residents quickly became tech-savvy seniors as they used virtual platforms like zoom, face time and slack to connect with their family and friends.
We then graduated to window visits and finally, socially distanced visits indoors. Spirits are high and the buzz of in-house visitors is a long-awaited sound.
I heard an interesting fact about Spring when I was visiting the residents during a Hallway Trivia Program. In the 14th Century, this time of year was referred to as “Springing Time” in reference to plants “springing” from the ground. This is how the season came to be coined as “Spring.” As we opened our dining and community rooms for socially distanced meals and activities earlier this week, I reflected on this fact as I watched our residents springing into action and joy as they reunited with friends and experienced life as it used to be (well, almost) at The Kensington.
Our team members also rejoiced. One of our lead care managers told me she started her day feeling a bit worried about executing the staggered dining experience. She found herself thinking about whether they would rotate quickly enough, whether the first seating diners would finish in time for the second seating diners, whether residents would feel frustrated or impatient, whether the team would be able to get everyone ready in time, etc. All this noise was promptly interrupted with a beautiful sight. One of our new residents was eating in the dining room for the first time. She wore a beautiful purple velvet dress. She had her smart phone to the right where she was texting friends and her iPad to the left to continue watching a movie she started in her suite, as she drank coffee and contemplated what to order from the menu. She was completely in her element, living her best life. She beamed a beautiful smile and said, “Isn’t this great?” The lead care manager said in that instant she was calmed, inspired and full of love and pride. “This is caring for our residents as our family. This is The K. This is why we do what we do” she said.
We, as a Kensington Family, experienced so much together over the last year. We suffered losses, nursed our residents back to health, challenged our creative potential to keep residents engaged and stimulated, adapted our operations to meet the ever-changing demands of the pandemic and supported our families through an incredibly challenging time. Resilience and Gratitude. Two words that consistently come to mind when I think of the lessons I learned from our residents, team, and families during this pandemic. Thank you all for your resilience, trust, and partnership. I wish for you a Spring filled with good health, joy, hope, connection, and of course, gratitude and resilience.