“Every person has something in them to be honored, learned from, and held up. Kendal communities respect every person whether they are a resident, employee, family member or community partner.”
There are a growing number of options for senior living today but the quality of these communities can differ dramatically. Sean Kelly, President & CEO of Kendal, recently shared with Mary Furlong and Associates, his thoughts on what makes Kendal Affiliates stand out in the crowd. The foundation of Kendal’s mission and vision can be found in its values and practices which highlight the importance of connecting to the community through ongoing and candid dialogue. A perfect example of this could be seen at a recent mini-retreat at Kendal on Hudson where 120+ people from every constituent group (including residents, staff and board) came together to discuss values and what at Kendal was most important to them, what was most exciting and where could things be better. For Mr. Kelly, this gathering was truly representative of the Kendal culture at its best, with people coming together to engage the different perspectives on how life can be improved for every member of the community and the community all together.
A great way to see how Kendal’s values and practices play out in real-life is by reading their 2019 Annual Report. Mr. Kelly highlighted several examples from the report that show how Kendal is unique when compared to other senior living communities:
Another way in which Kendal sets itself apart from other communities, is its commitment to being both an advocate and an activist in the aging field more broadly. In 1986, Kendal led the Untie the Elderly© program which resulted in federal legislation being passed in 1990 that required nursing facilities to consider the impact of restraints on the well-being of their residents. This groundbreaking work actually laid the foundation for future advocacy around dramatically reducing the use of unnecessary and harmful antipsychotic chemical restraints from senior living. For the restraint program to be successful, Kendal had to embrace their belief that every person needs to be honored and that they also deserve an opportunity to exercise their free will without a community demeaning (perhaps unintentionally) them or diminishing that right. The Untie the Elderly© program also correlates closely with the person-centered care movement that is now being continued with innovations from organizations like The Green House Project and technology company Embodied Labs. Kendal remains committed to using creativity, technology and innovation with hopes that they can systematize and codify model practices around person-centeredness, for Kendal and perhaps beyond. This devotion to knowing and caring for the “whole person” also provides an important underpinning for Kendal at Home which is among the leading organizations providing care coordination, elements of long term care insurance and a true sense of community for people who choose to be a part of Kendal but not necessarily to live in a “bricks and mortar” community.
Kendal’s leadership in the field is strengthened by the partnerships it has forged with other forward-thinking organizations in the longevity market. Kendal is a part of the Alzheimer’s Association National Roundtable which brings together leading providers from across the national to improve and operationalize the Association’s practice recommendations. Another strong source of partnership for Kendal is colleges and universities which help bring value to residents through intergenerational relationship building and lifelong learning opportunities. Campuses are also a great place to recruit future leaders in the senior living community industry.
Collington, a Kendal affiliate, has an existing relationship with Medstar Health in which they are co-operating an integrated primary care clinic. This clinic is an integration with community members and staff members and has an impact on quality of life across the board for those who participate. These individuals go to the hospital less often and are often more self-directed when it comes to their healthcare. This partnership shows that by creating a purposeful center for health and well-being, a patient’s quality of life can be improved as well as population health more broadly.
Finally, there is the partnership between the San Francisco Zen Center and Kendal to create Enso Village, a Zen inspired Kendal affiliate. Both organizations come to the table with an understanding of the realities that come with age and also excitement around what is possible as one embarks on their aging journey. The partnership is thriving in part because both organizations aspire to a mindful approach to care but also to culture.
Above all, Kendal values every single person in their community ecosystem and shows this by continuously, and increasingly soliciting their feedback. And, every five years, Kendal leadership comes together and re-evaluates their organizational plan based on community feedback and commits to making the next thing they do a little bit better than their most recent accomplishment. Learn more about the Kendal way of life from Sean Kelly himself during the 2nd Annual Washington Innovation in Longevity Summit this December!