The Kendal Difference: Local Ownership and Control

Kendal sign

If you ask what makes Kendal at Lexington such a great community, you’ll get a variety of answers from residents and staff alike. Everything from the quality of care to the active resident council’s enthusiasm and participation.

But another difference is the federal-type operating model shared by all Kendal affiliates. The Kendal Corporation does not own its affiliates or any of their assets. The Kendal System seeks to obtain the best of two worlds: sensitivity to local circumstances with most decision-making at a local level, plus the opportunity to benefit from being part of a larger system. Oversight of each Kendal organization is provided by a local volunteer board of directors, and residents and community members serve together on those boards.

Resident-Driven Community

Kendal residents are part of what’s termed a “resident-driven” community, where self-governing resident councils work together and with the community administration on matters including finances, programming, and activities. It gives residents the opportunity to exercise their interests and skills in a meaningful way. One of Kendal’s fundamental values is that all people have strengths which should be supported. Examples of interaction with staff include planning of meals and activities, as well as initiatives such as sustainability and facilities management. Interaction among various resident councils helps them share model practices with other communities—another one of the features of the resident-driven model.

Sharing Model Practices Benefits Other Kendal Communities

Within the Kendal System, communities can innovate, test, and share practices. Kendal at Lexington has been able to share best practices regarding CNA training and recruitment and a highly virtual sales process for the Sunrise Ridge expansion.

With solid values based on the foundational Quaker principle that each individual should be respected and valued, Kendal communities are leaders in healthy environments for older adults that foster social interaction, independence, and healthy living.

Kendal President and CEO Sean Kelly stresses the importance of individual respect and community values for residents and staff. “Kendal values quality of life and fostering a sense of community. In order to live out these values, we believe that each person is to be cherished, honored, and treated accordingly in an atmosphere of mutual respect and caring.”

Kendal communities have many long-standing protocols and procedures in place to prevent, control and manage infection. In practice, these protocols and procedures have proven themselves effective during innumerable flu seasons and previous disease outbreaks. The development and sharing of new model practices to meet the insidious threat posed by the coronavirus has intensified. In addition, the Kendal System’s centralized procurement platform has ensured that PPE is acquired in a timely manner and provided to all the Kendal affiliates.

“We have activated our network in ways that we’ve only talked about previously,” says Kendal’s President and CEO Sean Kelly. “But the most important thing that we’re doing is sharing stories — how testing is working, how is the advocacy for testing in a local community? Things [that] happen at each Kendal community are shared, and very often inspire new things to happen in other communities. And that’s been a real benefit for us.”