By Linda Viertel–
Pamela Klapproth, a veteran senior living administrator, began her new position as Kendal on Hudson’s new CEO/Executive Director on April 1st, not exactly an ideal time to start, given the early ravages and unknown path of COVID-19. The previously vibrant campus filled with senior programming, activities and socially engaged residents who dined together in their popular restaurant, was experiencing closures at every level. Klapproth, in her new role, moved into an apartment on campus, had her meals delivered, and experienced life from the vantage point of Kendal’s residents.
An infection control team and safety measurements were already in place, as was a strong campus response to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and New York State’s Department of health; she noted that she came on board fully in support of those efforts.
“My first 90 days were about COVID response, supporting staff and residents, as well as balancing safety measures and continually changing guidelines,” she explained.
Fortunately, The Kendal Corporation, with facilities in multiple states, was able to get quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) and masks in quantity while making sure adequate testing measures were consistently in place.
The timing of her arrival at Kendal certainly did not provide a typical introduction. However, she said, “I was able to see how wonderful the community is, how responsive the Resident Council is in educating the residents.” For now, it’s a balancing act at Kendal, as it is for the rest of the rivertowns’ community organizations.
Klapproth has been impressed, from day one, by how dedicated the residents are to one another, how they reach out to the more isolated community members, setting up phone trees to connect plus Zoom sessions. Ten to twenty residents at a time stay engaged with one another, going back and forth on Zoom when they would have been meeting in person. The Resident Council leadership provided Zoom lessons to those who needed it. Others were already communicating easily on the platform and helped fellow residents learn enhanced computer literacy.
Ever responsive to the needs of others, Kendal residents donated food to the local food pantry; the Council and residents, in total alignment and ever mindful of Kendal’s devoted staff during a pandemic, created a “heroes fund” which paid extra money to staff –“wanting to do the right thing for everyone,” Klapproth added.
Now, Klapproth has plans for reopening the campus successfully according to New York State guidelines, which include socially distanced dining. However, meals will continue to be delivered to those uncomfortable with social dining. Ongoing reminders and education are in place until an effective vaccine is created for widespread use. Visitors and amenities are on hold until after the holiday season. Klapproth is urging that medical protocols be followed as Thanksgiving visits approach.
During the Kendal’s CEO/executive director search process, Klapproth was introduced to and captivated by the rivertowns, their diverse restaurant scenes, beautiful river views, the Jacob Burns Center nearby, hiking and RiverWalks, and is now looking forward to a time when she can experience the full vitality of her communities.
As noted in The Kendal News: “Klapproth has more than 20 years’ experience as an executive senior living professional with expertise in strategic planning and operations, financial management, resident and board relations, fundraising, marketing and community relations, new building construction and renovations, quality and compliance.” Klapproth explained that she came into her profession with values similar to Kendal’s mission and was highly aware of the organization’s community-oriented focus and vital lifestyle. During the past seven years she served as CEO/Executive Director of Covenant Living in Cromwell, Connecticut, never far from her New England roots.
‘We are very glad to have Pamela on board,” stated Kendal on Hudson Board of Directors’ Chair, Howard Smith. “Pamela has demonstrated a calm, confident, professional approach in working with her leadership team to navigate Kendal on Hudson through the treacherous waters of the pandemic while at the same time charting a course forward in addressing the ongoing challenges of operating a first-class senior living community,”
Over these past difficult seven months, it is clear that Klapproth is taking on her professional responsibilities to Kendal’s residents with total commitment, and, while everything seems to be on pause at Kendal, Klapproth is already in the process of expecting new residents.