On Monday evening (January 9), Monday Topics will present Beryl Goldman. It’s understandable if her name is not familiar, but you need to know about her. Beryl is a retired Kendal employee, and for three decades she worked on a project that made Kendal world famous: the “Untie the Elderly” program.

Together with Jill Blakeslee (Kendal’s first Director of Nursing), Beryl traveled across the country (and occasionally to other countries) preaching the gospel that elderly people should not be restrained to their chairs and beds, a practice that was very prevalent at the time. The rationale for the restraints was that frail people might fall and hurt themselves, but result was that their quality of life was severely curtailed.

Thanks to Jill and Beryl’s tireless work, regulations were changed in many states, and there was even a federal Senate Symposium on the topic (which Kendal played the lead role in). Jill and Beryl developed a training curriculum and a thick binder of materials on how nursing homes and retirement communities could avoid the use of restraints.

If you are interested in some background prior to the program, I have interviewed Beryl (highlights are here ) and have blogged about the Senate Symposium and about one example of an early success of the program at a different Kendal campus.

These days, even here at Kendal, people don’t know much about the Untie the Elderly program, but it was revolutionary in 1980s and 1990s. I urge you to come and hear Beryl describe those days, and how Untie the Elderly put Kendal on the map. I would argue that it is the single most significant accomplishment of Kendal’s first 50 years.