Overlook Residents, Families and Friends


 Life is (Still) Good at The Overlook!


These are difficult times for everyone.  They are, perhaps, most challenging in those organizations that provide care and services to our cherished and venerated seniors.  The Overlook in Charlton and its managed community, Briarwood Communities in Worcester, are no different.  All visitation has been restricted, our Residents are “sheltering in place” and many of the enriching engagement programs so prevalent at The Overlook have been placed on hold until further notice.  In addition, in an effort to protect those we serve and minimize risk to our Community, Overlook’s heroic Team Members must rigorously adhere to new protocols and procedures to an exponential level.


This “new normal” confronting our nation and the world is, not surprisingly, making The Overlook Family even stronger and further tightening the bond that holds The Overlook together.  The Overlook Team is more united than ever, washing our hands—sometimes nearly raw—donning and doffing personal protective equipment (often in short supply) and upholding our Mission and #1 Guiding Principle to “Do What’s Best for those We Serve!”


Without question, there are profound shifts in daily living.  Yet, together, our Residents and Team Members are an incredibly resilient bunch!  They are the inspiration that keeps Charlton working, and operating at its best, through thick and thin.


In spite of the alarming numbers impacting the COVID-19 pandemic, as of April 18, 2020, The Overlook in Charlton continues to have ZERO presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its Resident population. The diligence of our Team Members and Residents in practicing excellent infection control, along with countless other safety and prevention measures has, unequivocally, helped stave off the virus. We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to our Overlook Residents, families and friends who are making tremendous sacrifices to help “flatten the curve.”


We recognize that most everyone is understandably anxious, fearful, experiencing heightened emotions and feeling somewhat powerless during these uncertain and surreal times. The many unknowns and unanswered questions, along with the surge of COVID-19 cases and media stories are frightening. 


When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going! 


Stepping up and doing whatever it takes is encompassed in “The Overlook Way”—What exactly are we doing to protect our Community and those we serve?


 Safety measures and services we have implemented for our Community include:


  • Established an arduous Check-Point COVID-19 Screening Process for anyone attempting to enter the Campus;
  • Restricted access to buildings from 82 possible entries and egresses down to 3;
  • Eliminated all non-Overlook/outside Community admissions, other than those existing Residents returning to the Community after a hospital stay;
  • Established an Incident Command Team, with specific Task Forces and Committees meeting daily–to identify solutions, address and resolve COVID-related issues;
  • Issued protective wear and face masks across the entire enterprise and dedicated significant resources to supply chain procurement of Personal Protective Equipment;
  • Opened an on-site market, that is even more extensive than the pre-COVID, general store; by partnering with Overlook’s broad line of vendors, we are able to provide an array of produce, perishables, non-perishables, pet supplies, snacks, and toiletries–including sufficient quantities of TOILET PAPER—so Residents do not need to leave Campus;
  • Expanded meals and delivery to include 3 meals per day, prepared on-site by our talented Culinary Team and delivered to each Resident’s Apartment Home, Cottage or private suite;
  • Restricted visitation to only end of life compassionate care visits and emergency repairs;
  • Conducted continuous and on-going training, education and virtual programming to Team Members and Residents–including infection control, stress reduction, techniques for staying stimulated, active, connected and engaged, etc.;
  • Partnered with our Employee Assistance Program to provide additional support and counseling to Overlook’s Team Members;
  • Partnered with an area hotel to provide complimentary local lodging, in an effort to minimize travel for Team Members working long hours, as well as reduce the potential of cross contamination between home and family–to The Overlook;
  • Provided complimentary meals for Overlook’s Team Members on Campus, as well as gift cards for OVNA Home Care and Hospice field staff, throughout April and May;
  • Relaxed the dress code and encouraged “casual Fridays”


 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)


We continue to aggressively pursue supply chains, multiple vendors and personal connections for PPE.   We are grateful for the outpouring of help by those donating PPE to The Overlook, including: Town of Charlton, Charlton Sewing, Karl Storz, Spero Goods, Harrington Hospital, the Kraft family and numerous Team Members, families, friends of The Overlook and the MHS Board of Directors!


 The COVID-19 pandemic has caused critical shortages of PPE, essential to keeping our Team Members and Community safe. As we continue to focus on and respond to COVID-19 and our top priority of safeguarding our Residents and Team Members, we’d ask for your support and any connections to supply chains and procurement of PPE:


If you possess any PPE (including eye protection, gloves, isolation gowns, booties, face masks, surgical masks, face shields, N95 respirators), or have contacts with suppliers who have an inventory of PPE, please immediately contact info@massfreemasonry.org or 617.426.6040 (or, 800.882.1020 within MA).


We are Prepared.


The Overlook has created a temporary “negative pressure, isolation wing” in its Post-Acute setting, to effectively quarantine returning Residents in sealed and protected private suites in a distinctly separate area from other Post-Acute neighborhoods. 


 Should any of our Overlook Residents become infected with COVID-19 and require hospitalization, they will be sent to an area hospital or one of the dedicated MA “step-down” treatment centers or field hospitals, where they will receive highly specialized treatment. 


 Thank You.


We appreciate the accolades, encouragement and notes of gratitude from Residents, families and friends—Please keep these coming—as they mean so much to our Team Members, who have selflessly stepped up, courageously putting themselves and their families at risk and working tirelessly to meet the challenges of COVID-19.  Their dedication is keeping our Community safe and giving peace of mind to our Residents, families and loved ones.


 Below is a small sampling of the thoughtful messages and words we have received: 


 #1. I just wanted to let you know that the food provided by the Overlook Culinary Team has been just fantastic. The meals are well balanced, delicious, innovative, hot and fresh. In many ways, I think the food (since our quarantine) has been as good as what we were getting previously at Acacia. Whatever formula is in place, please hold on to it!


 #2. Please convey our thanks to the team as they are all doing a great job during these difficult COVID19 days. The ‘highlight’ of our day is the arrival of our dinner and it never disappoints.    


 #3 I just wanted to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for everything you’re doing to keep our loved ones safe! We truly appreciate each and every one of the Overlook staff who go to work every day and go above and beyond to care for our precious parents and grandparents. These are extraordinary times, and we family members draw great comfort knowing we have such dedicated, compassionate leaders and staff at Overlook. My mom has been at Overlook nearly 12 years (the first 10 in Independent Living and the last 2 on SNF) and I’m so very grateful she is there.   


#4 We appreciate the frequent written updates from the President & CEO. The Skype calls offered by The Overlook have been a great way to stay connected to our loved ones. Also, the unit managers, nurses and CNAs in the SNF have been wonderful…Special props to the Overlook Team.


 #5 THANK YOU and God Bless. We appreciate you all.    


 In Closing.


We welcome words of inspiration, expressions of recognition, praise and encouragement for our Team Members and Residents during these trying times.  Please email comments and letters to ddarger@overlook-mass.org and cc me at tcampbell@mhs-mass.org   


 You may also mail notes and letters to:


 The Overlook “Wall of Fame” 


Care of: Danyel Darger, Overlook Director of Sales & Marketing


88 Masonic Home Road


Charlton, MA 01507


 We thank you in advance and will share these inspirational messages across our Community. 


We will continue to do everything in our power to keep our Residents and Team Members healthy during this pandemic.  We are eternally grateful for your continued support. 


Our hearts go out to all those whose lives have been impacted by the coronavirus-COVID-19.   


 Please stay safe and be well.


Yours in Service,


Tameryn Campbell, MHS President & CEO