By Resident Steve Katz
Our Happy Hour During the Pandemic
At Kendal at Granville we don’t have an activities director for residents in independent living. The residents decide what activities we will pursue, and we all pitch in to make it happen. We join together in groups and committees depending on our interests. There are over 25 of these groups, and more get formed each year. There is a book club, a woodworking group, a library committee, an entertainment group, a speakers bureau, a newletter group, and many others.
In 2014 when we joined Kendal, there was a Meet and Great group, which organizes a happy hour on the second and forth Thursdays at 5-6 pm in our gathering room. That was great but it was only twice a month, and a number of us wanted something more, so we formed a Pub Committee. Our idea of a Pub isn’t like the conventional definition where you can buy food and adult beverages. We just wanted a place where we could socialize before dinner every day. The emphasis was on socializing, not on drinking alcohol. It didn’t matter if participants drank adult beverages or not. Everyone was welcome.
We were able to set up our Pub in a seldom-used lounge area across from an activities room. We advertised the grand opening and we overflowed with interest! The Pub Committee was delighted. Some time later, when it was apparent that the Pub was going to be a permanent fixture here, a generous resident donated money and another resident, who was an interior decorator, donated her time in order to refurnish the activities room with a nicely configured arrangment of comfortable sofa, chairs, table, refrigerator, storage cabinets, new carpeting, and wall decorations.
Every month on a Sunday (when there is no dinner service so that the staff can be with their families) we arranged our own pizza party, which was wildly successful, even with those who rarely came to the pub!
Then COVID hit and the Pub, along with most other activities, shut down. Not to be outdone by a raging pandemic, we simply went virtual. The committee signed up for a Zoom room, circulated the address to the loyal attendees, and met online everyday from 5:30 to 6:00 for chatting and discussion. A dozen or more residents showed up regularly and had a fine time from the comfort of their own homes. And once the pub opened again for in-person gathering, we still kept up the Sunday night Zoom room. It’s worked out well for all of us.