Family & Resident Communication During Covid-19

Goddard House is actively responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Please know that throughout all of this our number one priority will always be to keep all residents and associates safe while they are in our community. We have been sending out regular communications to families, residents and staff throughout this crisis. We will keep this page updated with a catalog of our most recent communications.


Tuesday, October 20, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

Now that the Fall weather is finally rolling in and the cooler temperatures have more families thinking about day trips and the upcoming holidays, I want to reach out with this friendly reminder about Safety Precautions to keep in mind both when you are visiting Goddard House and when you are taking your family members out of our community.

BE SAFE WHEN OUTSIDE OF THE COMMUNITY

Across the State of Massachusetts and across New England, the number of cases of Covid-19 is on the rise, putting our residents and staff at an increased risk of exposure. Inside the community, we have our visiting guidelines and infection control practices in place to help keep everyone safe. Outside of the community, we rely on you! 

I want to remind everyone that Goddard House offers transportation to and from medical appointments. Residents and families are able to request a ride by calling the front desk. Please consider taking advantage of this convenient service as we try to limit resident exposure.

While we know that some families will still want to take their loved one out for trips and necessary appointments on their own, we are asking that family members and residents please wear their masks at all times and remember to practice social distancing and proper, frequent handwashing. Right now, these are the best things we all can do to help keep our family, friends and neighbors safe.

NEW INDOOR VISITING SPACE

Because the weather is getting cooler, we anticipate that more family members will want to visit indoors. We have decided to designate the Private Family Dining Room as an indoor community space for both Assisted Living and Olmsted families to visit. This designated space will be disinfected by our team members in between visits, and will provide a nice alternative setting for visits with your loved ones. Please call the front desk at 617-731-8500 to reserve the family dining room. 

Please remember that all visits, whether inside the community or outside, must be scheduled in advance and can be done so on our website on the Visitor Guide.

Inside our community, residents continue to have a health screening every day. If any resident is off baseline or not feeling well, we will ask you to reschedule your visit. 

Just a reminder, when visiting inside or outside, all visitors will be screened for fever or respiratory symptoms. 

  • At your screening, we will also collect contact information from each visitor, in the event that we need to contact you later because of any potential exposure to the virus. 
  • Any individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 will not be permitted to visit. 
  • Both residents and visitors must wear a face mask for the entire duration of the visit and remain at least 6 feet apart from one another and any attending staff member.

Keeping all of our residents, associates, and families safe this winter is our top priority. We appreciate all of your patience and understanding as we navigate these uncertain times. Together, we can help prevent the spread of illness to those more vulnerable. 

I will continue to send out alerts and letters like this one when anything changes either at our community or with state regulations and guidelines. If you have other family members who would like to sign up for these updates, please do so by texting UPDATES to 617-731-8500.  In the meantime, if you ever have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. 

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, September, 21, 2020 – Dear Goddard House Families,  

Good Afternoon,

I am reaching out today to let you know that this morning we learned that an associate who works in our Olmsted Neighborhood has tested positive for Covid-19. This associate was in the building last week, and per our protocol, was wearing a mask and gloves on each shift and has had minimal interaction with residents
Even though our community has not had an active case of Covid since May, we have continued to follow all infection control protocols to help prevent the spread of illness in our community. We are hopeful that this is an isolated case. All residents and associates continue to be monitored every single day, as we have been doing since the start of this worldwide pandemic.

Please know that we will absolutely call you if there are any changes with your loved one.
Just as a reminder, we do have a lot of information on our website about our current precautions and policies. You can also read our protocols here.

If you have any questions, please call me at the community, 617-731-8500, or send me an email csandel@goddardhouse.org.

Stay well,
Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, August, 17, 2020 – Dear Goddard House Families,  

We hope that you enjoyed the cooler weather this weekend! 

Save the Date

I want to thank all of our families who were able to join us for our virtual Family Meetings earlier this summer. We received a lot of great feedback, and we want to say how thankful we are for all of your continued support and encouragement.

We are excited to announce that we will have our next quarterly Family Meetings in September, held virtually via Zoom. We have scheduled two dates for these meetings: Tuesday, September 15th and Thursday, September 17th.  Additional information and registration links will be sent in the coming weeks, so please save the date!

Family Visits

As a reminder, per state guidelines, all family visits must be scheduled in advance. This is very important, as we have to have staff available to escort family members to and from their visits. If you have any questions about our family visiting guidelines or would like to schedule a visit, please click here

We continue to have no new cases of Covid-19 to report.   

Stay well, 

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, August, 3, 2020 – Dear Goddard House Families,  

August is here, and we are excited to be just days away from the beginning of our 2020 Cookin’ Up Jazz summer concert series! Our first concert is this Thursday, August 6th at 6:00pm with the Winiker Brothers. This year’s events will be held virtually via Zoom. If you would like more information or to register for the Zoom event, click here. If you have any questions about our summer concert series, please reach out to Lance at lchapman@goddardhouse.org

While the past several months have looked very different for all of us, there are many things that have not changed at Goddard House. Our spirit and sense of community has remained unwavering, and we are grateful every day for the opportunity to care for your loved ones. We are also grateful for our dedicated, hard-working associates, and to you, our families. The kindness and generosity you have shown cannot be understated. We are stronger today than ever because of the community we have built together. If you did not have the opportunity to see our latest advertisement in the Brookline TAB, I would encourage you to take a moment to view it here

As a reminder, per state guidelines, all family visits must be scheduled in advance. This is very important, and we want to thank you for your cooperation and understanding as we work to ensure all families have a chance to visit with their loved ones. If you would like to review our family visiting guidelines or schedule a visit, please click here

We continue to have no new cases of Covid-19 to report.   

Stay well, 

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Friday, July 24, 2020 – Dear Goddard House Families,  

Residents are continuing to enjoy all of our daily activities and small group programs.  We are offering two small group sessions of our daily morning exercise class to allow more residents to participate, and residents are also taking advantage of the many art and music programs being offered as we utilize our many common areas throughout the building and grounds.  

Residents are now enjoying all three meals in the dining room, with three seatings offered for each meal and an increased number of available menu items.  Families who are interested in seeing the weekly menu can now find it on the Brain Healthy Cooking page of the Goddard House website. Simply click the maroon button that says “See this week’s menu.”

Families can continue to visit with their loved ones through our scheduled indoor and outdoor visits. As a reminder, you can find all of our visitor guidelines or schedule a visit on our website.  If you would like to pick up your loved one and take them off campus with you, please remember to call us in advance so that we can ensure they are ready for your arrival. 

We continue to have no new cases of Covid-19 to report.  

Have a wonderful weekend, 

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Friday, July 10, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

As promised in our last update, we have created new calendars for family visits, which provide a combination of indoor and outdoor visits along with choices for weekend and weekday times.  We are excited to welcome families back into our community and hope that you enjoy spending this quality time with your family members. If you have any questions about our visiting hours or our new safety protocols for family visitation, please refer to our last letter or our updated Visitor Guide webpage

For families of Traditional Residents

Both Outdoor and Indoor visits may be accessed through this page:

https://calendly.com/goddardhousevisiting

For families of Olmsted Residents

Here are the new links for family visits on Olmsted:

Outdoor Visits

https://calendly.com/kcipriano/olmsted-outdoor-visits

Indoor Visits 

https://calendly.com/kcipriano/olmsted-indoor-visits

Stay well and enjoy your visits,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Wednesday, July 8, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

I am reaching out today with some long-anticipated news:

As Massachustters enters Phase 3 of reopening, the Department of Elder Affairs has issued a new set of guidance allowing us to offer in-apartment visitation with some important restrictions. Also, our Salon is reopening!

IN COMMUNITY VISITS

While we are glad to be able to see residents and families reunited in this way, we know that with each step toward a full reopening comes increased risks. Please know that we have been preparing for this day for some time now, and have developed strict guidelines to help keep our residents, associates, and families safe.

Beginning on Monday, July 13th, we will offer rotating outdoor and indoor visit days (5) days per week. The schedule for these visits is as follows:

  • SundaysNo scheduled visits 
  • Mondays – Outside visits from  2:30pm to 3:30pm
  • Tuesdays – Inside visits from 1:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Wednesdays – Inside visits from 1:30pm to 4:30pm
  • Thursdays – Inside visits from  3pm – 6pm
  • FridaysNo scheduled visits
  • Saturdays – Outside visits from 2:30pm to 3:30pm

We will be sending links to you in the next day or two through which you can sign up for visitation slots. Before booking your visit, please familiarize yourself with both our new and current visitor guidelines.

  • Just as it is with our outdoor get-togethers, visits need to be scheduled in advance. This is because the state is requiring a health screening and a staff member to escort all in-community visitors to their loved one’s apartment. 
  • All time together must take place inside the resident’s apartment; this means no visiting in community common spaces and you still cannot join your loved one for dinner.  
  • Inside visits will be scheduled for a maximum of 60 minutes. 
  • Inside visits, as well as outside visits, will be limited to a maximum of two visitors per resident.
  • All family visitors will be screened for fever or respiratory symptoms.
  • At your screening, we will also collect contact information from each visitor, in the event that we need to contact you later because of any potential exposure to the virus.
  • Any individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 (i.e., fever equal to or greater than 100.0 F, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, myalgia, chills or new onset of loss of taste or smell) will not be permitted to visit with a resident.
  • Residents will continue to have a health screen every day, including taking a temp; If any resident is off baseline or not feeling well, we will ask you to reschedule your visit.
  • A resident who is suspected or confirmed to be actively infected cannot be visited, although you may visit any resident who has recovered.
  • Both residents and visitors must wear a face mask for the duration of the visit.
  • A visitor must remain at least six (6) feet from the resident and attending staff member(s) at all times during the visit.
  • If any visitor develops COVID-19 symptoms within 48 hours of their visit, they must report these symptoms to us immediately so that we can institute contact tracing measures.

Families who have a current visit already scheduled may have had your visit time adjusted within this new expanded schedule.  Please check and let us know if you have a conflict with the new time assigned. We will do our best to accommodate you. 

If during this new phase of inside visitation, a case of COVID-19 is detected among our residents or staff we will need to revert back to more restrictive visitation policies. To avoid this, we ask that you commit to maintaining our “safe visit” policies so that all families can enjoy spending time with their loved ones. Please cancel your visit if you or another guest are experiencing any cold or flu-like symptoms until you have had a COVID-19 test with a negative result. 

SALON RE-OPENING

We hope to be able to open the two Goddard House hair salons very soon. We will send an opening date out as soon as we are certain we can meet all the safety requirements the state has set forth for us.  

Both of our salons (Traditional and Olmsted) are quite small and will only allow for one resident and one stylist in the salon at a time.  The stylists we hire must have certifications indicating they have been trained in Covid Safe protocols for salon work. We will also need to develop protocols for residents arriving and exiting the salon, in order to maintain proper social distancing within the salon space. We will announce when we intend to open the salons and when residents can begin making appointments in the near future.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We will send another update out to you Monday.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, July 2, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

Happy July! I am reaching out today with just a few quick updates.

We have planned a fun summer BBQ for residents and associates on Thursday, July 9th. We will be cooking everyone’s favorite summer BBQ foods and enjoying the warm, sunny weather (hopefully!).

As mentioned in my previous updates, our dining room will return to serving all three meals on Sunday, July 5th. We will have three seatings for each meal, and are providing reminders to residents before their assigned seating times as we all get used to this new schedule. Thank you for your patience and cooperation as we make this transition.

Lastly, in some exciting news, our new small group programming schedule is in full swing at Goddard House! Residents have their choice of three daily activities, all abiding by safe physical distancing measures. We are currently holding small group exercise and art programs and are adding new programs every week. 

Our community continues to have no new cases of Covid-19 to report.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Tuesday, June 30, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

I hope that you all had a good weekend! 

We are certainly taking advantage of every nice day we get here at Goddard House as we continue to host outdoor, physically-distant activities for residents. We are enjoying small indoor group events as well, including exercise, gardening, and painting, and we have new activities being added weekly.

As mentioned in my previous update, our dining program is now in full swing, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner! Starting Sunday, July 5th advanced menu selections will no longer be required. Each meal will continue to have three seatings, and residents will be assigned to one of the three seatings for each breakfast, lunch, and dinner based on the location of their apartment. When residents arrive in the dining room, they will place their meal order with their server as they have previously. 

To keep both residents and staff safe, we are continuing to follow all state guidelines, and are cleaning and disinfecting all tables, chairs, and surfaces between seatings.  

As of today, we are ending our temporary free tray service program. While we have been happy to provide in-room tray service at no cost for the past three months our community is designed to offer a social dining experience and other opportunities for residents to engage with one another. Moving forward residents will be charged a $4.00 fee for in-room tray service requests during lunch and dinner. 

If you have any questions about any of our new dining procedures, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. 

Our community continues to have no new cases of Covid-19 to report.

Stay well,


Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, June 25, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

It has been a pleasure to watch our residents return to the dining room to share meals with their friends, and we are excited to continue moving forward with additional plans to reopen our dining room for all meals, in accordance with recommended guidelines. 

We have established 3 seatings for lunch and dinner and have assigned every resident a seating time. We are offering cues and reminders for residents who may need that extra reminder just before their assigned seating time. 

Starting Sunday, July 5th, breakfast service in our dining room returns! We will offer 3 seatings for breakfast as well so residents can enjoy all three meals each day with their friends and neighbors.

Because our dining program will be up and running for three meals a day, starting Monday, June 29th, we will begin charging for meal trays being delivered to a resident’s apartment for lunch and dinner at $4 per tray. Our community has now seen two months pass without any cases of Covid-19, and while we were happy to provide in-room tray service at no cost while the state’s “Safer at Home” Advisory was in place,  our community is designed to offer a social dining experience and other opportunities for residents to engage with one another. We are all excited to get back to doing what we do best. 

If you have any questions about any of our new dining procedures, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. 

On a sad note, since my last letter, one of our residents who had tested positive for Covid back in April has passed. Our deepest sympathies are with this person’s family during this difficult time. 

Even now, as nearly a month has passed since our last positive case of Covid, the effects of the virus still continue to persist, reminding us all of the importance of diligently adhering to safety and hygiene standards as we continue to adapt to our new normal. Frequent handwashing, wearing face masks and staying physically distant from one another is still as important as ever, and will remain our everyday practice here at Goddard House for the foreseeable future.  Because of this, please know that our new practices and protocols, such as those pertaining to meals in our dining room and outdoor visits, will be reinforced and may have to be modified or updated from time to time in order to help ensure everyone’s safety and general wellness. Again, if you have any questions about our safety practices, please reach out.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, June 22, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

I hope that you had a good weekend! We all enjoyed the beautiful weather and we were excited to spend Sunday celebrating Father’s Day at Goddard House. The residents have been thrilled to be getting back out and about the community and, most importantly, to be having meals together, in a safe and socially distanced manner, in our Dining Room.  

REMINDER TO SCHEDULE ALL OUTDOOR VISITS

It has been a great pleasure to welcome our Goddard House families back for outdoor visits with their loved ones, and we are so happy to see so many familiar faces once again! In order for us to ensure that we are following all state guidelines and practicing safe social distancing at all times during these visits, we want to remind you that all outdoor visits with residents must be scheduled through our online calendar system. In order to comply with state guidance, at this time we cannot allow unscheduled or drop-in family visits in any of our outdoor spaces, and family visits are limited to no more than 2 family members. As direction from the state’s Executive Office of Elder Affairs continues to develop, we will communicate any changes in our visitor policy to you in our weekly updates. 

Families who would like to visit with their loved one away from the community are welcome to pick up their loved one if they wish, but we strongly encourage all families to adhere to CDC guidance while out for a visit, including wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and practicing social distancing. 

If you have any questions about our outdoor visitation policies or would like to schedule your next visit, please refer to the Visitor Guidelines page of our website at https://www.goddardhouse.org/visitor-guidelines/. Window visits can be scheduled by contacting Rebecca at rmargolin@goddardhouse.org

ADDITIONAL INSIDE PROGRAMMING

Inside the community, we are increasing programming opportunities for residents, keeping with the group size limitations set by the state. For residents, this means there is a limited number of seats for each program so that we maintain safe physical distance. Please know that in order to accommodate, whenever possible we will be holding multiple sessions of the same program. 

Overall it has been an amazing and heartwarming week, here at Goddard House. I want to thank everyone — Residents, Families, and Staff — for their kindness, support and patience as we adjust to a set of new guidelines and policies that will help us to maintain this “New Normal”. 

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, June 18, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

I want to thank all of the families who participated in our recent Zoom meetings. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us, and we look forward to future virtual family meetings. 

Our dining room opening has been a great success. Residents were greeted with balloons and decorations on their first day back, and it has been wonderful to see everyone in the dining room again. As a reminder, if you have any questions about our new dining times or protocols, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. 

Today is the first day of National Nursing Assistants week, and we are kicking off a week of celebration in recognition of the amazing team of nursing assistants we have here at Goddard House that includes special breakfasts and lunches, an ice cream bar, and personalized cards and gifts for our care team. 

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention that we continue to have no new cases of Covid-19 to report to you.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, June 15, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

As I mentioned in our last letter, our dining room is starting to reopen! I know that associates and residents alike are very excited for this next step. Our reopening plan has been created with resident and associate safety as our prime priority; It adheres to all state guidance, as well as our own strict infection control policies. This first phase of our new socially distanced dining program starts today:

  • Lunch and dinner will be served in 3 seatings
  • Residents will be assigned to a seating time based on their apartment location within the building
  • Each seating will last 45 minutes
  • All tables, chairs, and surfaces in the dining room will be disinfected between seatings
  • Residents will receive reminders from staff prior to their meal and will be given directions once they arrive at the dining room, so that we can follow all social distancing guidelines
  • Once seated in the dining room, their entire meal will be served to them
  • At this time, residents will continue to receive breakfast in their apartments
  • If a resident does not yet feel comfortable eating in our dining room we will continue meal tray service to apartments for the next couple of weeks.

We appreciate your support and patience as we roll out this new process. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out.

On a separate note, I want to let you know that National Nursing Assistants week begins this Thursday, June 18th. If you would like to send a card or encouraging note to our team of Resident Care Associates, we encourage you to do so! Internally, Thursday kicks off a week of celebration in recognition of the amazing team of nursing assistants we have here at Goddard House.

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention that we continue to have no new cases of Covid-19 to report to you.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, June 8, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

I have good news to share. We have received detailed guidance from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) regarding state-mandated quarantine measures that can be cautiously lifted. The last few months have been very burdensome for residents confined to their apartments, so we are thrilled for them and our families that we are entering a new phase. 

RESTRICTIONS ARE EASING

Please bear with us as we get to another “new normal” throughout the next few weeks. As you can imagine, we have a lot of work to do to get new standards and practices in place to accommodate this return to autonomy! 

I’m sure you share our excitement, and also our trepidation that we might slide back. Your loved ones’ safety remains our highest priority. Let’s all work together to do everything we can to prevent a second wave of Covid-19 from coming into our community.  

As with everything having to do with this virus, we are still in unchartered territory. Here is a preliminary list of restrictions that are easing, and how we intend to implement changes.  

#1 Families can visit loved ones at the community, in a designated outdoor visitation space. 

  • While we announced updates to outdoor visitation in our letter that was sent on Thursday June 4, I want to reiterate that all family visitors must be screened for fever or respiratory symptoms, and those exhibiting symptoms will not be permitted to visit with a resident. Additionally, residents will continue to have a health screen every day, including taking a temp; If any resident is off baseline or not feeling well, we will ask you to reschedule your visit.
  • Both residents, and visitors must wear a face mask for the duration of the visit.
  • If any visitor develops Covid-19 symptoms within 48 hours of their visit, they must report these symptoms to us immediately so that we can institute contact tracing measures.
  • Additionally, we are making some changes to the time blocks we are offering for family visits. We will still be scheduling visits on Tuesday, Thursdays and Weekends, however we will be coordinating new time blocks. Someone from Goddard House will reach out to you if you already have a visit scheduled, otherwise, new appointment times will be released tomorrow.

#2 Residents are free to leave their apartments, and may even leave the building premises

  • While the state’s “safer at home” advisory is still in effect for seniors, residents may choose to leave and re-enter the community. As this population is the most vulnerable to any illness, we will continue communicating to our residents the importance of minimizing their exposure and not risking the safety of other residents
  • Masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing are critical inside and outside the community; we suggest you get hand sanitizer for your loved one for when soap and water isn’t handy
  • If you decide to take your loved one out for an appointment or a visit, you will meet them at the front door (families are still not allowed into the building). Following EOEA outdoor visiting guidelines, we ask families to contact us within 48 hours if you become symptomatic, so that we can undertake contract tracing to protect our residents and staff who may have come into contact with you or your loved one
  • We recommend that residents continue to have supplies delivered (via Amazon, Instacart, etc.) whenever possible vs. shopping in the greater community
  • Residents will continue to have a health screen every day, including taking a temp; If any resident is off baseline or not feeling well, we will strongly encourage them to stay home

#3 We can begin serving meals in the dining room

  • We have been advised to follow official MA state guidance for restaurant re-openings, and this week we are fine-tuning a plan to ease back into the dining room. Most likely we will start with one or two meals daily with multiple seatings to adhere to social distancing mandates. We will continue to serve breakfast to residents in their apartments
  • We may need to implement some changes to our dining room itself, including furniture layout, setup of meals and even meal times. With all modifications we consider making, please know that our goal is to create and maintain a positive and social dining experience for all
  • All this being said, we hope to have a modified version of communal dining in place within the next couple of weeks. Please keep in mind as we roll this out, if a resident feels more comfortable not eating in the dining room, we will continue meal tray service to their apartment 

#4 We can begin small group programming

  • We must follow 6’ social distancing with groups of less than 10, so we have to figure out how to schedule enough opportunities to get everyone engaged
  • We will continue with lots of outdoor activities and entertainment, and begin scheduling indoor programs with small groups

#5 A few things that are not changing yet

  • EOEA says that we cannot open our salon or have a podiatrist in the community yet
  • Outdoor visits continue with mandated restrictions, such as no more than two visitors who have a health screen, including taking a temperature. Refer to our webpage on visitor guidelines and scheduling
  • We are still working with families and encouraging telehealth appointments

WE ARE PAST THE PEAK; LET’S REFLECT ON WHAT WE HAVE EXPERIENCED TOGETHER 

We have been hit hard by the virus but with no new cases in 2 weeks, we are hopeful we have weathered the storm of Covid-19. We will remain vigilant but we feel we can breathe a little easier, while we continue to prepare for a possible resurgence of the virus throughout the state later in the year. 

It seems like a good time to provide residents and families with a snapshot of what we have been through as a community. I want to start with a resounding ‘thank you’, yet again, to all of you for your support and trust in us.

Before we get to the human, personal side of the story of the last four months (March – now), we wanted to give a brief overview of the business side of things. At the beginning we focused on sourcing the PPE materials we needed amidst a worldwide shortage. We also worked quickly to establish enhanced virus control protocols and procedures, visitor guidelines, modified programming, enhanced technology for telehealth, virtual visits and a family and associate communication texting program, and special appreciation and acknowledgment of our staff. 

And now for the much more important human side of our story, over the past four months since this crisis began, our community has had 16 residents who have tested positive for Covid-19. Additionally, a total of 8 staff tested positive for the virus. As you know we participated early in April in the National Guard’s Mobile Testing  program, and thank them for their efforts on behalf of seniors in our state. Their community-wide testing program ends this week. 

Many individuals who tested positive – both residents and staff – were asymptomatic. Many residents who tested positive and were ill did not exhibit typical Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, dry cough and shortness of breath. Instead, they experienced a range of symptoms, such as lack of appetite, feeling weak and fatigued, increased sleeping, confusion, vertigo, poor balance, increase in falls and dehydration. We were seeing these unusual symptoms very early back in March; the CDC upgraded their list of official symptoms months later to include many of these. 

I am pleased to let you know that 13 residents and all our staff who tested positive fully recovered from Covid-19. We were able to care for most residents who had Covid-19 right here in our community. I want to recognize our amazing staff, especially our Resident Care Department, who literally worked on the front lines of this pandemic, bravely taking care of sick residents, especially in the early days of the pandemic when so little was known about it.

As you all know, we have lost 5 of our beloved residents over the last 4 months due to Covid-related complications. It has been so hard for us, as well as for the families of these wonderful people, to not be able to truly honor their lives in our usual ways through wakes, funerals and memorial services. We will continue the fight against Covid-19 in their memory, and when we can gather together safely, we will have a memorial service to honor their lives.

So it is with a heavy heart and a grateful heart that I end this letter as we look ahead to brighter days.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


June 4th, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

Over the past few days, we have received several questions about family visits. I want to take a moment to share with you new guidance that we have received from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) regarding these visits and the ways in which we are currently following state guidance at Goddard House.

Per new EOEA guidance, Assisted Living communities can allow in-person visitation in a designated outdoor visitation space, provided that they implement specific safety, care, and infection control measures. These include:

  • A resident who is suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 cannot be visited; a resident who has recovered from COVID-19 may be visited.  
  • Prior to a resident arriving at the designated outdoor visitation space, the community must screen the visitor for fever or respiratory symptoms. Any individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 infection (i.e., fever equal to or greater than 100.0 F, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, myalgia, chills or new onset of loss of taste or smell) will not be permitted to visit with a resident.
  • A staff member must accompany the resident to and from the designated outdoor visitation space in a safe and orderly manner. 
  • Visitors must be limited to no more than two individuals for each resident. 
  • A visitor must remain at least six (6) feet from the resident and attending staff member(s) at all times during the visit.
  • Staff, residents, and visitors must wear a face covering or mask for the duration of the visit. 
  • Visits with a resident in a designated outdoor space must be scheduled in advance and are dependent on permissible weather conditions, availability of outdoor space, and sufficient staffing at the Assisted Living community to meet resident care needs, and the health and well-being of the resident.
  • A community may limit the length of any visit, the days on which visits will be permitted, the hours during a day when visits will be permitted, and the number of times during a day or week a resident may be visited.

For the most part, our current family visit rules are already in line with this new guidance, but we will be making a couple of adjustments to our process due to these new regulations. I do also want to remind you of a few steps that we need all family visitors to follow in order to keep our residents, associates, and visitors safe. 

  • All visitors (Assisted Living and Olmsted) must report to our front vestibule when they arrive for their scheduled visit so that they can have their temperature taken and answer health screening questions.
  • At the time of their health screening, visitors will be asked to provide their full contact information. This allows us to get in touch with you in the event of any potential exposure to COVID-19.
  • Once the health screening is passed, visitors will be allowed to proceed to the designated visitor area. Traditional Assisted Living visits will take place in the back Traditional courtyard and all Olmsted visits will be in the Olmsted Courtyard.
  • There will be an assigned table for visits, please make sure that you disinfect with the provided spray bottle before and after each visit. There will also be hand sanitizer stations to use.
  • If any visitor develops COVID symptoms within 48 hours of their visit, they must report these symptoms to us immediately so that we can institute contact tracing measures. 

We will still be scheduling visits using Calendly, and we will be sending an update within the next few days with new visit scheduling options. 

On another note, if you have not yet RSVP-ed to one of our upcoming family Zoom meetings, during which we will discuss Covid and our strategic plan, we still have some open spots on June 16th. You can sign up using this form: https://forms.gle/UYQK1iicd7iAg1Nh8 

I will send my next letter on Monday. 

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, June 1, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. I have no new news for you today, and no new cases of Covid to report, just a couple of reminders:

  • Please RSVP to one of our family Zoom meetings, during which we will cover Covid-19 updates, a summary of our World Café sessions and overview of our strategic plan as well as overall family communication. You can find the RSVP form here: https://forms.gle/UYQK1iicd7iAg1Nh8 
  • New outdoor visit time slots are released on Tuesday mornings. So, be sure to check back if you don’t see a time that works for you. You can find the links to our visit scheduling tools here: Visitor Guidelines
  • Our Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies are in great shape. We are prepared in the event of any increase in cases that could come from the state and City of Boston re-opening phases. We also have a good supply of cloth masks on hand, thanks to a number of family member donations — Thanks to those who have helped!

I do want to thank our family member cheering squad for the beautiful letter they sent to the Brookline TAB last week. If you missed it, you can read it here: Letter to the Editor: Goddard House Heroes.

Residents continue to get outside for small, socially-distanced, outdoor social groups led by our programming department. This week we have several with a fitness or trivia theme. 

I will send another letter on Thursday. 

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, May 28, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

As the sunshine and warmer weather continues, we are taking advantage of our community’s beautiful outdoor spaces and making sure residents get outside to enjoy some fresh air. The nice weather has also allowed us to enjoy many outdoor family visits this week. If you would like to schedule a visit with your loved one, you can find our Visitor Guidelines including links to schedule a visit here on our website: Visitor Guide. We will continue to keep this page updated if anything changes. 

Since my last update, we continue to have no new cases to report. While this is welcome news for us all, please know that all virus control precautions remain in place to minimize the spread of infection in our community. This is still our highest priority, especially as the state continues with its Phase 1 re-opening. 

My next letter will be on Monday. Enjoy the weekend!

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Tuesday, May 26, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

I hope you all had a nice weekend. We certainly did! We enjoyed lots of time outdoors, relaxing near the gardens and on the patio while practicing social distancing. 

In honor of Memorial Day, we took time yesterday to pause and remember those who have served, and those we have lost. Some of our residents took part in a reading of the poem “In Flanders Fields.” You can watch more videos on our Facebook page.  

Just a reminder, as more businesses begin to open across the state this week ─ the restrictions placed on Assisted Living Communities have not yet changed; I refer you to the letter we sent last Thursday. In the meantime, “behind the scenes”  we are preparing for the eventual easing of those state requirements, so that when the time comes we can be confident that we can do so safely.

While we are pleased to see another week go by with no new Covid-19 cases to report, since my last letter we have lost one of our dear residents from our Olmsted Neighborhood, due to the virus. Our entire community is grieving from this loss. Please know our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.

While we haven’t had a new case in a couple of weeks we must remain diligent. All of our staff continue to wear masks and gloves throughout their shifts. Any residents exhibiting symptoms are being cared for under full precautions. We are also issuing new masks to all of our residents. We have a professional deep “spring cleaning” planned over the next couple of weeks which will involve a professional anti-viral cleaning service and a focus on many of the common areas and apartments within the community.  

If you are looking to schedule a visit, please find more information and the links to sign up on this webpage: Visitor Guidelines. Please remember to bring your mask and we now ask that you bring your own lawn or folding chairs for better infection control and social distancing while you are here. We also don’t recommend bringing infants or very small children to your Front Porch Visits.  We will be again opening a visit schedule for families with residents on Olmsted 1 so please click on the link on our Visitor Guidelines page to schedule. 

I also want to take a moment to thank those of you who filled out our Communication Survey. We had 21 family members respond, and 14 of those who did expressed an interest in keeping our communication plan the way that it currently is, with letters coming out on Mondays and Thursdays. For now, we will keep things status quo. 

We also had several of you express that you were not getting social updates from us, so I want to includes some additional links here, in case you’d like to start:

  • Goddard House Facebook Page – posts, pictures and updates with highlights from our daily activities
  • Goddard House Instagram – Photos of our residents and staff in action – with our “Instagram Story” updated regularly! 
  • Weekly Programming Emails – sent from our programming department, these emails offer one more way to stay connected to what is happening inside of our community. If you don’t already receive these, please send an email to rmargolin@goddardhouse.org, to sign up.

My next update will be Thursday.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, May 21st, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

My letter today is a long one, as I have several updates and reminders.

First, I want to let you know that we have no new cases of Covid-19 to report. 

We continue to encourage family outdoor visits! We have launched a new page on our website to house all information related to our Visiting Guidelines. There is a link to this page on our homepage at GoddardHouse.org, or you can bookmark this link: https://www.goddardhouse.org/visitor-guidelines/. This page also has links to our Visiting Scheduling tool. We will continue to keep this page up-to-date as our Visiting Policies change. One more note on outdoor visits: While we will have chairs set up for residents (which are being rotated and disinfected between visits), family members should bring their own lawn chair so they can sit comfortably a considerable, safe distance away, during their visit.

We are also looking for your input! As we enter this new, post-surge, phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, we want to put into place an informative and sustainable family communication plan. Please click this link to take a brief 3 question survey that will help us incorporate your opinions into our plan.  

With some state restrictions easing, such as some medical offices, hair salons, barber shops and places of worship opening in this first phase, we have been getting many questions from families about whether your loved ones can go out for hair appointments, physician’s appointments and to attend religious services. As we enter into a cautious phased re-opening of our state’s businesses, I know we are all looking forward to some kind of “new normal” that feels less restrictive. Unfortunately, the state-issued “Stay at Home” guidelines have not yet changed as they relate to Assisted Living communities: 

  • The governor said his new “Safer at Home” advisory does not apply to those over the age of 65 or with underlying health conditions. He has stressed that seniors should continue to only leave their homes for essential needs
  • The advisory urges everyone to hold off visiting nursing homes and residential care facilities (which include Assisted Living communities, like Goddard House) 
  • The Executive Office of Elder Affairs has not lifted any of the mandated restrictions regarding family visits inside the community, communal dining or group activities

We are hopeful we will get detailed guidance from the regulatory agencies in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we must do everything we can to comply with the Governor’s order, while preparing for restrictions to be lifted: 

  • We are urging families NOT to take your loved ones out of the assisted living building into the larger community at this time. If a resident leaves our building, we have to adhere to our “safer in your apartment” quarantine protocol for the following 14 days. This protective measure is in place currently for any returning or new residents because individuals can be positive for coronavirus without exhibiting any symptoms.
  • We are working with our hair stylist to establish protocols, so that we can reopen our salon as soon as we get the green light.
  • We are planning to launch in-house podiatrist services soon. For now, our Resident Care Director is coordinating services for any resident with an urgent need.
  • We are facilitating physician telehealth appointments for residents (Phase 1 Re-opening of the state continues to limit in-person appointments to high risk patients).
  • We are installing plexiglass at the Reception Desk and are implementing a new digital sign-in process for when visitation can resume. This new system will allow visitors to avoid the use of paper and pens.
  • While we must wait for the state to ease in-community restrictions, we are working on plans to safely open up our dining room and community spaces. 

We can’t let our guard down. Please be patient and work with us to remain focused on the health and well-being of your loved one and all of our residents as our number one priority.

With the upcoming holiday, my next letter will be on Tuesday. Hang in there and have a great Memorial Day weekend. 

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, May 18, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

Good afternoon! What a beautiful weekend that just passed. We have all been truly enjoying the warmer weather. The fresh air and sunshine has been really invigorating for both residents and staff alike. We continue to increase the amount of outdoor walks we are taking and we have started to do this with small groups of residents, too. We have been able to keep safe and socially distant with groups that include up to 4 residents and up to two staff members while we take casual and social walks around our building and on nice days. These strolls  provide opportunities to reinforce the proper use of masks and the reasons for social distancing, while we also get to enjoy each other’s company.

Governor Baker made his first announcements earlier today for a phased reopening of the state of Massachusetts. I want to remind everyone that if any guidance is released that would impact operations here at Goddard House I will let you know. Please know that while we are all eager to “return to normal,” resident and staff safety will remain our top priority. 

Over the next several weeks and months we expect to see state recommendations on how to ease the current restrictions we have in place inside our community, including the ban on visitors, as well as accommodations for day-to-day activities like salon appointments, wellness visits and getting out for scheduled doctor appointments. I will continue to provide updates as circumstances change. 

In the meantime, while state mandated visitor restrictions remain in effect, we will continue with the safe, socially distant, outside visiting opportunities like our Front Porch Family Visits. These 30-40 minute visits have been going so well!  Starting this week we will be adding additional days and time slots in order to accommodate more family visits and to hopefully make them a regular part of your weekly schedule.  

Don’t forget your masks! You can use these links to book a visit (please note, new time slots will be released on these calendars on Tuesday morning, so be sure to check back if you don’t see a time that works for you.): 

As of this afternoon, we have no new cases of Covid-19 to report. 

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, May 14, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

Since my last update, we have had another resident test positive for COVID-19. This is a resident in our Olmsted Neighborhood.

As the state begins to slowly re-open, despite all of our precautions, we very likely will see more COVID-19 in our community — we are prepared. All of our staff continue to wear masks and gloves throughout their shifts. Any residents exhibiting symptoms are being cared for under full precautions. As a reminder, residents under full precautions have been isolated and our caregiving staff (Resident Care Associates and nurses) are wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves, gowns, booties, face shields and/or goggles. Housekeepers wearing full PPE are allowed into the apartments for cleaning as needed.

We continue ongoing measures to minimize the spread of the virus including continued deep cleaning and sanitizing throughout the building, and promoting social distancing and proper hand washing for everyone. Current residents and associates continue to be monitored closely every single day, as we have been doing since the start of this worldwide pandemic.

Because of this most recent positive case of coronavirus, we will be temporarily postponing family visits for Olmsted 1 residents. Family visits Olmsted 2 residents will continue as usual.

Modified visiting opportunities for our traditional residents will continue to be scheduled. Please use this link to book a visit: Traditional Assisted Living Families; Olmsted 2 Neighborhood Families. Please abide by the following guidelines when planning a visit:

  • All visitors must pass a health screen.
  • All visitors must wear a mask at all times. 
  • We are providing face shields for visitors; Please use them throughout your visit.

If you have already scheduled a visit, please do not yet book a second one; We want to ensure that all families have a chance to visit their loved ones at least once before we open up this program. We do plan to add additional visit times soons to accommodate more frequent visits.

I will send another update on Monday. Have a good weekend.

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, May 11th, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

I have no new cases of Covid-19 to report today.

We had a very special day at Goddard House yesterday as we celebrated all of the wonderful women, and moms, in our community. We passed out flowers, some special pastries and cards to honor each of our fantastic mothers here at Goddard House and we want to thank everyone who helped to make this possible.

I am thrilled to announce that we will be starting socially distant outdoor visiting opportunities this week for all residents. We will begin these visits tomorrow, Tuesday May 12th. Please keep in mind that these do take some coordination to set up as we can’t have more than one family visit at a time. We have created a calendar using a website called “Calendly” to help families schedule visits ahead of time so that everyone has an opportunity to visit and abide by safe social distancing measures. If you would like to sign up please choose the appropriate scheduling link:

Traditional Assisted Living Families

Olmsted Neighborhood Families 

We currently have a 3-week schedule live on Calendy. We are asking families to please only schedule one visit at this time, so we can ensure that all families have a chance to visit their loved ones. Please note the following with regard to your visit: 

  • All visitors must pass a health screen.
  • All visitors must wear a mask at all times. 
  • We will also be providing face shields for visitors to use during the visit. We will ask all visitors to clean the face shield both before and after their visit with the sanitizing wipes we are providing.

Visits can be scheduled on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 11am,1pm and 3pm. This will allow us enough time to conduct the required health screens, as well as time to properly clean the space after a visit. 

Our Traditional Neighborhood visits will have residents sitting inside and visitors on our porch, visiting through an open window. We will have a table set up to ensure that everyone is more than 6 feet apart from one another.  

For visits with our Olmsted residents, the set up will be similar. A staff member will escort you to our Olmsted Neighborhood gardens where you will visit your loved one either from a window in the dining room or from our second floor back deck window.

We do intend to add more times and days for visits in the near future. We are offering a limited schedule at this time in order for us to ensure that everyone, including you, our staff and residents, is protected. We appreciate everyone’s patience and support as we roll out this new process.

I will send another update out on Thursday.

Stay well,
Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, May 7th, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

Since my last update, we have no new cases of Covid-19 among our residents and it has been three weeks since any associate cases were reported. While we are cautiously optimistic that we may have turned a corner, we will continue to practice full precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of the virus in our community. 

The arrival of spring weather and tulip blossoms reminds us to seek ways to balance our caution and safety with good doses of hope and resiliency here at Goddard House. We are all excited that we have started bringing residents outside of their apartments this week on supervised walks throughout the building and outside into the sunshine. As of this writing, everyone in our Traditional Neighborhood has either been on or been offered a walk outside. Guided walks with our Olmsted residents will begin today. 

These walks will serve as an opportunity for physical exercise, an additional chance for socialization and a way to reinforce the use of masks as part of our “new normal” daily life here at Goddard House. We will work with residents to slowly begin walking longer distances, while negotiating the hallways and elevators again. As long as we can maintain safe social distancing and mask use, our goal is to increase the frequency of these walks over the next few weeks.

We are also really excited to begin offering scheduled, safe family visits with our residents. Over the next week we are creating a schedule for family members (one or two people at a time) to come in for a 30-minute visit with your loved one. We will have pre-set visiting locations designed to keep guests socially distant and still comfortable. We will require that masks be worn by all participants throughout the visit. 

We are so looking forward to hosting these reunions with your family members and friends. Please bear in mind that we will need to do this in a safe, structured way. We hope you will bear with us as we roll out this opportunity, slowly at first, but we will soon open it up with scheduled visit times for every family.  

As Goddard House begins this sort of “re-opening”, I want to acknowledge the gratitude we are all feeling for having such a dedicated team of professionals in our community, as well as an understanding and patient group of families, and the support and guidance of our Board of Trustees and CEO. We truly are all in this together. 

Stay well,
Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, May 4th, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

The fine weather this weekend certainly lifted the spirits here of staff and residents alike. We were all excited to see family members swing by with their signs and horns honking, as promised in my last letter.

Residents got all dolled up to take part in our Kentucky Derby Themed Rolling Happy Hour (see photos). We also enjoyed delicious cupcakes donated by a family member!

We proudly hung a banner over our front entrance this weekend that I wanted to bring to your attention.

I believe this, wholeheartedly. I am honored to have this group of Goddard House Heroes as my team. 

Since my last update, we have gotten confirmation that another resident, from our Olmsted Neighborhood, has now tested positive for COVID-19. We have no new associate cases to report.

Please know that we continue to practice full precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. All staff wear masks and gloves throughout their shifts. Our team members don the appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while providing care and services for any residents who have tested positive or who may be showing symptoms. We continue to work with every resident to encourage social distancing and proper hand washing. And, of course, our housekeeping team regularly cleans and disinfects the community. With all this being said, we are acutely aware that the status of the virus in our community can change quickly. 

Please know that we will absolutely call you if there are any changes, at all, with your loved one. 

I will send another update out on Thursday.

Stay well,
Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, April 30, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

While I have no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to report to you, since my last letter we have lost two of our dear residents. Our local Board of Health has notified us that these residents, who had not tested positive while living in our community, have been officially designated as having died from COVID-19 related complications. Our entire community is deeply saddened and I know I speak for the whole team when I say that our collective thoughts and sympathies are with these families. 

Please know that we are deeply committed to helping both our residents and team members heal from the toll that this virus is taking on our community. Both residents and associates can reach out to Marie Curcio, our Director of Resident Support Services, who can help them connect with grief and stress relief resources. In addition, both residents and staff know that my door is always open, and everyone is always welcome. These are certainly challenging times, but I believe that together we will get through it.

Residents at Goddard House had some special visitors this week when local Brookline Girl Scout Troop 82025 stopped by with signs to spread cheer. We are certainly missing the intergenerational programs that we would have been hosting before this pandemic hit, so it was truly heartening to see the smiles on both the kids and residents’ faces as they waved at one another through our windows.

Earlier in the week I had an opportunity to thank our wonderful families. Today I want to take a minute to thank the amazing professionals we have in our greater Brookline Community! These are our friends and partners who we work with on a daily basis to bring the best care and opportunities to our residents. We so appreciate all of the notes, emails, calls and general acts of support they have been sending along. I want to express a special ‘thank you’ to our friends at LifeCare Advocates who, earlier this week, sent our associates delicious Fairytale brownies to enjoy. 

I will send another update on Monday. Enjoy the weekend!

Stay well,
Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, April 27, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

As an update, Goddard House has not had any new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since my last letter. While this is certainly welcome news for all of us, due to the nature of this virus, we know that things can change quickly. We continue to do all we can to minimize the spread of infection in our community. 

I wanted to take a moment to recognize some of the amazing families we have at Goddard House. Gerry Miller and Christine Adams, better known to our families as Marian’s son and Theresa’s daughter, have spent the past three weekends celebrating our line staff heroes with socially distant acts including bells, horns, and some crafty sidewalk art. They have delivered heaps of healthful snacks and tokens of gratitude. Gerry and Christine reached out to me to ask if we could extend an invitation to our other Goddard House families to join them. Because of the challenges of physical distancing, they are asking that those who may be interested please sign up in advance so they can be sure they do not have too many people participating at any given time. They plan to hold one of these ‘events’ each weekend until the threat of the virus has subsided. You can reach Gerry at gdm129@yahoo.com or Christine at cadams129@gmail.com. On behalf of our entire team, I want to thank Gerry and Christine for organizing these thoughtful events. 

Christine and Gerry are not alone in their expressions of thanks to our wonderful team. Last week we saw gifts of chocolates and pizzas and full on dinner buffets delivered to our staff. These displays of respect and appreciation are so uplifting and overwhelming. We want to extend our sincerest, deepest thanks to every member of our Goddard House family. We are equally grateful to have the opportunity to care for your loved ones.

Stay well,
Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, April 23, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

Since my last letter, I am saddened to share with you that two of our dear residents who had tested positive for COVID-19 have passed away. We are incredibly saddened by these losses — our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with their families during this difficult time. We are deeply committed to helping both our residents and associates heal from this loss.

As I continue to report on the number of cases in our community, it is important for you all to know that these numbers I am sharing with you twice a week are not statistics to us. These numbers represent your family members, our beloved residents. We know them and we care deeply for them. Everything we are doing right now is for them. We are sharing these ‘numbers’ with you because we understand that this is the measurable data that you want to know, but we should never forget what these statistics represent, and what we have been fighting for all these weeks – we are fighting for them. 

Since the National Guard Testing, I have been hearing from families with questions. Our team will continue to do their best to answer individual questions and requests through the various channels you are reaching out on, but our top priority will remain the care and safety of our residents. If we can’t get back to you as timely as you would like, please be patient. If I see several of the same questions come through, I will plan to continue adding answers here to these regular updates. 

Recently, some of you have asked about whether residents are wearing masks. We did give each resident in our Traditional Assisted Living Neighborhood a cloth mask if they wanted one. Additionally, we are asking that residents wear those masks while our staff is in their room providing programming, meals or care.

On a separate note, to our Olmsted Neighborhood families: Many of our Olmsted residents have not had or needed televisions or DVD players in their apartments. However, as programming opportunities have changed with this virus, we feel that having these items could help those residents who are having a tougher time understanding the need to stay in their rooms. If your loved one does not have these devices currently, we are asking that you consider bringing a set in.

I hope you all have an opportunity to get outside this weekend before another round of April showers rolls through New England. I will send another update on Monday.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Monday, April 20, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

As I mentioned in my last letter, we had the National Guard’s Mobile Testing Program come to our community last week to conduct testing for COVID-19. The majority of our residents and associates participated in this testing and we have received all but three of the results back today. Since we tested so many people, we expected to see an increase in the number of cases at our community. We now have 13 residents and 4 staff members who have tested positive. 

Our local media did cover the testing. As a result, and because we have such a close-knit community here in Brookline, we have had a number of people inquiring about the wellbeing of our residents. If the inquiry is not coming from a family member, we have asked that they follow up directly with the person (or their family) they are asking about. You should know that we will never give out personal health information about our residents; we are prohibited from doing so by HIPAA. 

At this point, we are continuing our full precautionary measures to mitigate the spread of the virus. All of our staff are wearing masks and gloves throughout their shifts. The increase in the number of coronavirus cases at our community includes both symptomatic and asymptomatic people. We are caring for all of those individuals, as well as any residents who have not been tested but are showing symptoms, by our Resident Care Associates and nurses wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that include masks, gloves, gowns, booties and goggles. We continue to clean and disinfect the building, and promote social distancing and proper hand washing for everyone. As a reminder, any staff who has tested positive or is symptomatic are self-quarantined at home, and according to our policy, will remain out of the building until they have a physician note that they are cleared to return to work.  

These recent test results don’t change the work we are doing to keep residents’ spirits up! As you know, I like to share with you some of the rays of hope and smiles we are finding in each day here at Goddard House. We continue to find music to be a universal cheer-bringer. Last week we had DJ George come in to play music to residents outside so they could hear it through their windows. We have also held a couple of hallway singalongs. There has been lots of boogying and dancing

I will continue to send updates out on Mondays and Thursdays. Please know that we will absolutely call you if there are any changes at all with your loved one, so there isn’t a need for family members to call the community for daily updates. This will let us focus first on caring for your loved ones. In the meantime, if you have another family member that would like to receive these updates, they can text the word UPDATES to 617-731-8500. 

Stay well,
Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Thursday, April 16, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families, 

I want to start with an update on the number of COVID-19 cases at our community. We currently have 4 residents confirmed positive. We also have 3 staff members with symptoms who are out of the building. We do not yet have any staff members confirmed positive. 

We are moving forward to apply for testing through the new Mobile Testing Program being managed by the National Guard. Testing is now available for all residents in Assisted Living communities whether or not they have symptoms of COVID-19. (Prior to this just those residents who were symptomatic could get tested.) 

Please know that this is voluntary. It is up to each individual resident (and their families) whether to be tested. To facilitate this process, our team is working with families and calling the resident’s physicians to get the necessary orders. Once we have orders for testing in hand, we will reach out to the National Guard. We are hoping to arrange a time for them to come within the week, but we have been advised that they give very little or no notice. I will let you know as soon as something is scheduled. 

In our Olmsted Memory Support Neighborhood, we are taking additional protective quarantine measures. We have learned a great deal from other professionals in our industry and we know this is a critical step to protect our residents and associates. The data shows that residents in memory support neighborhoods are at the absolute greatest risk of spreading COVID-19 to others at an accelerated rate. In order to make sure we have done absolutely everything possible to keep people safe, we feel we must make these changes.

Our Olmsted Residents will be receiving the same quality care and compassion that they’ve received all along. Below is a brief outline of our newest action items. 

  • Meals: Residents, who are able, will be served meals in their apartments. I am in the process of purchasing tv trays for them. We have already visited every apartment to determine which residents need a table and chair brought to their room and which residents will need to be brought to a designated area for meal assistance. We will be providing furniture to those residents in need.
  • Activities: Similar to our Traditional Assisted Living Neighborhood, our program team will be focused on assisting residents with mobility and movement as well as 1:1 engagement. We still have exercise, sing-a-longs and 1:1 chats and reminiscing. We are also distributing puzzles and other activities that residents can do in their apartments. 

Finally, some lighter news to share: We are so grateful for the outpouring of love and support that our team has received from family and friends. We are thankful to everyone who has donated supplies and meals, or who have shown their appreciation in other creative ways, including chalking our walkway with art! Several families brightened our day at shift change last Saturday with music, dancing and cheering. It is great to read all of the uplifting messages you are sending, and the colorful art brings a smile to us all.

Stay well,

Carolyn Sandel,
Executive Director


Monday, April 13, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,  

First, this important notice: 

Any Goddard House family that has hired private duty services either directly or through an agency (certified nursing assistant, caregivers, nurses, etc) are required to immediately alert me if you learn that the private duty aide has any symptoms related to COVID-19 or has tested positive for it. Because of the federal HIPAA privacy statute, please do NOT assume that an agency will inform us – we MUST be able to rely on the resident’s family to provide this information.

Second, I wanted to give you an update on a new “Mobile Testing Program” for Assisted Living communities. Prior to this program, when Assisted Living residents throughout the state exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 they had to leave their community to get tested at area hospitals which exposed them to further risk. This had been the case at Goddard House. Now, this new program allows for the safe, onsite specimen collection by trained personnel from the MA National Guard. We are working with the Brookline Health Department and also with the MA Department of Public Health who has assigned us an epidemiologist, to bring this mobile testing to those who need it at our community. The National Guard is in our building today testing a couple of residents who have exhibited some symptoms. 

While this program will help us to bring onsite testing to Goddard House, it should be noted that they are not just testing everyone. Requests for tests through this program must first be prescribed by a physician. Testing is then managed on a first come, first served basis, with the National Guard prioritizing them in the order they are submitted. Working with this program, we can expect to receive testing results within approximately 2-3 days from when a resident is tested. This quick turnaround will allow us to move more quickly to respond to cases in our community. 

I also wanted to remark on this new webpage where you are reading this letter. We have recently launched this page so that we have a single place to update regularly with all of our communications to you during this pandemic. We will be updating this page with new information for residents and families each Monday and Thursday (or more frequently if needed). We will send you email and text notifications when a new letter is published. Our team will continue to do their best to answer your individual questions and requests received through various communication channels as quickly as possible. However, please note that our priority will remain the care and safety of our residents. If we can’t get back to you as timely as you would like, please be patient. 

If you have another family member who wants to receive information, please text the word UPDATES to 617-731-8500. In the meantime, here are some answers to frequently asked questions we have seen in the past week:

Q&A

Can we get updates on the condition of a resident who is not a family member?

During this time of unprecedented crisis, we ARE releasing information publicly on the number of positive cases that we have confirmed at our community. However, we are prohibited from providing “Personal Health Information” about individual residents who have fallen ill due to coronavirus or any other reason, including their medical status or even their apartment number. HIPAA is a federal law that very specifically protects residents’ rights to privacy when it comes to their personal information. This law is still in effect even during this pandemic. I can tell you that at the time of this letter we have no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our building.

Can we get updates on the health of staff?

HIPAA applies here, too. Beginning a month ago, every staff member, every day, is subjected to a health screening (including a temperature check). If they do not pass the screening at the beginning of their shift, or exhibit any symptoms at any time while they are at work, they are sent home with instructions to see their doctor and request testing, with a 2-week quarantine. It’s a fluid situation, and we are bound by HIPAA not to release personal identifying information about employees, including health information. I can tell you that at this time we do not have any staff testing positive for COVID-19.

Are you serving hot meals?  

Yes, our kitchen staff is as busy as ever. We are still serving favorite recipes from our Brain Healthy Cooking menu including fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, spices, nuts, olive oil, eggs, lean meats, seafood and other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. The foods we serve have potent antioxidants and nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties that boost immunity and reduce inflammation. It’s heart healthy, great for seniors managing diabetes, and proven to boost overall cognitive health. Kudos to our dining team for continuing to serve excellent meals with excellent service under these trying times.

Experts say during times of stress eating well is one of the things that helps us stay healthy and boosts our immune system. Residents very much look forward to mealtime especially now having to stay in their apartments for a majority of their day. Familiar foods, warm nourishment, and sense of normalcy around mealtime is bringing comfort to them. They also enjoy seeing our servers three times a day, which has become an important social touchpoint for them.

We hope you are eating well and staying healthy in your homes.

Carolyn Sandel,
Executive Director
Goddard House


Tuesday, April 7, 2020 – Dear Residents and Families,

I hope you are doing well in this difficult time. I am writing to share information about a case of COVID-19 at Goddard House, to update you on how we are keeping residents engaged during “social isolation,” and to let you know that we will be emailing weekly (or more frequently if necessary) with ongoing communications about our residents and our community.  

Last week a short-term respite resident in traditional assisted living became ill, was hospitalized, and tested positive for COVID-19 while in the hospital. The resident is not expected to return to Goddard House following hospitalization. Please join me in sending positive wishes for this resident and the resident’s family.

At Goddard House, as elsewhere, it is likely that the number of positive cases will increase – both as testing becomes more widely available, and because the virus is so aggressive.  We continue to exercise infection control precautions and follow other public health guidelines, including self-quarantine, and we are prepared to respond appropriately if additional residents, or staff, contract the virus. For example, as soon as the hospital informed Goddard House nursing staff that the hospitalized resident’s COVID-19 test had come back positive, all Goddard House staff members (from any department) whose duties included going to resident apartment floors or entering resident apartments began using facial masks. Additionally, several staff members wearing the “full precautions” level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) performed a full disinfecting cleaning of the apartment that had been occupied by the resident.

We are also focused on addressing our residents’ needs for social connection, daily exercise, and creative engagement. For example, we are hosting “chair aerobics” classes, purchasing and distributing sitting bike pedal exercisers, and offering toning and conditioning exercises for residents. We continue to pass out word games, books, videos and puzzles. The management team also checks in on a different group of residents every day.  Daily visits with managers, caregivers, and dining servers lessen the loneliness of our mandated quarantine measures.  Finally, we encourage friends and family members to call, email, Skype, and send cards and notes with positive wishes to your loved ones – it really makes a difference. 

I will include a “Questions and Answers” section in my weekly email to address the most common questions that my team is receiving from residents and family members. 

Q&A

How are you handling resident cases?

  • If a resident exhibits symptoms of coronavirus, we will contact the resident’s family and physician. We will follow the physician’s directions with respect to emergency room visits, hospitalization, COVID-19 testing, and care.  In some cases, coronavirus testing may be conducted here at the community. 
  • If a resident’s physician or a hospital confirms the presence of coronavirus, the resident will be treated in accordance with their direction and that of local public health authorities. That may mean that the resident, instead of remaining in the hospital, is discharged back to Goddard House. 
  • Residents with symptoms who are awaiting a test, or who were discharged back to us for continued care, will be in isolation in their apartments and treated under “full precautions.”  Only essential personnel will enter the apartment and will do so garbed in full PPE that includes a gown, mask, gloves, goggles, and booties. The resident will remain under care in isolation for the greater of 14 days or until they are declared virus-free in writing by their physician.

How would you handle associate cases?

  • If an associate exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 (we conduct a daily health screening of all staff and residents, including taking their temperature), we will send them home and urge them to see their health care provider. 
  • If they have a presumed or confirmed case of COVID-19, they will not be permitted to return to work until they have a note from their physician declaring that they are fully symptom free or, if the virus is confirmed, virus-free. 
  • We also are requiring a minimum of a two-week self-quarantine period (which is double the length of time permitted under CDC “Return to Work” Guidelines).

Your patience and support through this crisis are very much appreciated.  Trust that we care deeply about every member of this family and we are doing our level best to see everyone here through this unparalleled situation.

Be well and stay safe, 

Carolyn Sandel
Executive Director


Prior to April 7, 2020

Letters from the month of March dating back to our first communication on the pandemic issued on March 2 are available by request. We issued letters during the weeks of 3/2, 3/9, 3/13, 3/16, 3/23.