Shalom Village faces financial challenges but optimism prevails

June 2020
Larry Levin

It is my pleasure to bring you greetings from Shalom Village. 

As you can imagine, it is a very stressful time for both residents and staff operating under the constraints of the Corona virus pandemic. However, in spite of the difficulties, our outstanding staff have risen to the occasion and our residents are doing well.

Some months ago, CEO Renee Guder advised us that she would be leaving in the spring. Unfortunately, the pandemic slowed down the search process for a new CEO, and the board of governors asked if I would step in as interim CEO until they identified and hired the ideal candidate. Since my dental practice was temporarily closed due to the pandemic, I was pleased and able to accept.

As a longtime board member and past president of Shalom Village, I was quite familiar with its structure, and my experience both as president of the Ontario Dental Association, as well as president of the Canadian Dental Association, has given me the requisite managerial skills.

The transition has gone smoothly and I am working closely with staff to make sure that we continue to meet or exceed all governmental requirements and regulations during this time, and that the great experience that residents and families have come to expect from Shalom Village continues unabated.

All the entrances to Shalom Village have been closed with the exception of the main entrance. Only staff are allowed in, after being thoroughly screened. They are screened both on arrival and at the completion of their shift. Staff are cohorted to their particular area to prevent possible cross-contamination between different sections. Visitors are not allowed. All packages and deliveries are disinfected before being delivered. Residents are being constantly monitored and temperatures taken to identify any possible indication that COVID-19 could be starting.

We recently had all residents and staff tested by public health and fortunately the results came back completely negative. Being realistic and seeing what has happened in so many other long-term-care and retirement homes, it is always possible that COVID-19 could start at Shalom Village, however we are doing everything we can to minimize that possibility. 

The cost for this has been quite high both financially and emotionally. I would respectfully ask that if you have not already done so, to please consider making a gift to Shalom Village in support of our work. Visit to see a short video of life at Shalom during the pandemic.

Life at Shalom Village is certainly much different these days but good spirits and optimism still abound. We have just completed a week of staff appreciation during which, we held daily draws, raffles and contests and provided treats such as smoothies.  Daily letters of appreciation and thanks were given to staff and it was a fun week, which raised the spirits of everyone at Shalom Village.

Mother’s Day was celebrated with numerous window visits as well as video chats assisted by staff to connect residents with loved ones. A local greenhouse donated a small plant for every resident. 

All in all, the mood at Shalom Village is calm, professional, and focused  We are paying close attention to everyone’s psychological needs. Staff are making every effort to spend more time looking in on residents and spending time with them to mitigate some of the stress of isolation from loved ones.

I understand the great responsibility we have to take care of our parents, and I pledge to do everything possible to keep them safe, healthy and as happy as possible

Stepping into the role of interim CEO at Shalom Village, has been a very intense experience for me personally. I have spent countless hours working and strategizing with senior staff to get through what is arguably one of the most difficult chapters in the history of long-term care and retirement living. 

It is an honour and privilege to lead this wonderful Shalom Village team.