Re: Governor’s order to reopen Nursing Homes and Assisted Livings: Update No. 3 and our new Resident Service Director, Kandice Lopez.

Dear Palms Family,

As explained to you in our letter of September 3rd, our visitation plans depended on the results of our September 10th testing.

The 11-page Emergency Order states that if an employee tests positive for Covid-19, the general visitations must stop immediately for 14 days. Our next scheduled mandatory testing date was September 10th. If all Covid-19 tests were negative, we would move forward with limited scheduled visitations.

On Sunday, Sept 13th we received our latest test results. Unfortunately, we had one (1) employee test positive. We are in the process of having that employee re-tested. The employee is not showing any Covid -19 symptoms and feels fine but will not be permitted to return to work until (2) two negative test results are received. Fortunately, that employee was always wearing full PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and followed all the safety guidelines we have in place. The employee is a Nurse’s Aide and works on the Assisted Living side of the Palms. We believe that the guidelines are working to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Per the Emergency Order guidelines, we now must push General Visitations out 14 days. This employee was tested on the 10th. Therefore, the soonest we can now begin General Visitations will be Sept. 24th. We will continue the Essential Caregiver and Compassionate Caregiver visits, with scheduled training from a nurse before the visit.

Our goal during this pandemic is to keep our residents safe and keep Covid -19 out of their home at The Palms. We are again asking for your patience and understanding as we continue to work on our visitation schedule and plans. We know you are looking forward to being reconnected with your loved ones in person and like you, we look forward to returning to a sense of normalcy to our community.

I would like to announce that The Palms has a new Resident Service Director. Her name is Kandice Lopez and she joins us with 3 years’ experience as a Resident Service Director at an Assisted Living in Lakewood, Colorado. Our Charge Nurses, Deanna and Rebecca have done a great job in assisting and managing the nursing department while I conducted an extensive search for the right person. I believe Ms. Lopez will bring leadership to our team and care to our residents. Please join me in welcoming her to The Palms. She can be reached at

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me.

Barbara J. Matteson
Executive Director
The Palms at Ponte Vedra
405 Solana Road
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082
904-686-3700 office
904-294-7454 mobile


Today’s announcement by the governor is a significant step forward in achieving our shared goal of reuniting our residents with their loved ones. We know you are looking forward to being reconnected with your loved one in person and like you, we look forward to returning some sense of normalcy to our center so our residents can once again experience it as the place they know as their home. We are in the process of putting the policies in place to reopen safely to visitors based on the state’s guidance and will communicate those procedures very soon.

In the meantime, please know that our focus will remain on keeping our residents and staff safe from the virus, which has been our number one priority since this pandemic began. If you have questions, please contact facility.

The Palms at Ponte Vedra offers restaurant-quality meals, service

The Palms at Ponte Vedra offers restaurant-quality meals, service

By Benjamin Naim

Darryl Young’s culinary team at The Palms at Ponte Vedra — an assisted-living and memory care facility located on Solana Road — works daily to ensure residents enjoy a homey atmosphere, one-on-one service and restaurant-quality meals that meet their individual dietary needs.

Young, who served as a general manager at Holiday Inn for 10 years before entering the culinary business, said he worked with Executive Director Barbara Matteson in Jacksonville for three years before transitioning to a company in Atlanta. Eventually, Matteson offered him a job at The Palms at Ponte Vedra that he couldn’t refuse.

“I enjoy it,” Young said. “I like the atmosphere, I like the residents. When I started out about five years in, the assisted living, I was there, and it became routine and it became, ‘Today we’re going to do meatloaf and tomorrow we’re going to do this and we’re going to offer grilled cheese – and we’re going to offer an omelet.'”

Young reinvigorated the Palms’ culinary department by creating a restaurant-style atmosphere where everything is made-to-order and prepared on the spot. Consequently, chefs there have been given creative freedom to put their personal stamp on their work while meeting the dietary needs of the community.

“It can be challenging at times,” Young noted. “The diets that we offer are a no-added salt, and then we do no concentrated sweets, so when I do my desserts, I always do something for sugar-free.”

Young’s dining area features dessert options prepared by the culinary director himself at the crack of dawn, each day. His pies consist of citrus, fresh herbs and other healthy ingredients. Additionally, Young caters to the health needs of individual residents by making softer, easier-to-consume alternatives.

Read the full article>>

One of Us: Barbara Matteson

One of Us: Barbara Matteson

Barbara Matteson is the executive director of the Palms at Ponte Vedra.

Please tell us about your background and what brought you to the Palms.

I hold a master’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Oneonta. Prior to my relocation to Jacksonville, my family resided in upstate New York, and I had my own practice as a marriage and family therapist. Prior to establishing my private practice, I worked as a director of social services in the nursing home industry. Upon my move to Jacksonville, I knew that I was ready for a change and fortunately, I found that change with Marriott Senior Living, where I became an administrator of an assisted living facility in Orange Park. However, Marriott chose not to continue its venture with senior living. But before they exited the business, I was fortunate enough to work for them and be trained by them. I am always grateful to Marriott for the training, and I had and the opportunity to work for and meet Mr. Bill Marriott.

After Marriott, I had the opportunity to work for other senior living companies based in Jacksonville. the Palms community was especially interesting to me because it was a unique opportunity to lead a new startup assisted living and memory care facility, as well as an opportunity to work for a locally-based company. When I came to the Palms, they were just pouring the foundation for the building. I was very interested in bringing my experiences and knowledge to a new startup venture and to have the opportunity to provide input to every phase of the community. Another key fact of my association with the Palms is that my three granddaughters, Josephine, Amelia, and Madelynn Boyle, live nearby in Sawgrass and encouraged me to explore working at the Palms. They love visiting the Palms and interacting with residents. It is very important to teach our youth the importance of taking care of our seniors. They call the Palms “Grandma’s House.”

What are your primary roles and responsibilities as executive director?

The executive director is responsible for all facets of the operation of both the assisted living and Morningside (our memory care facility). The buck stops with me! I have been extremely fortunate to have a supportive and very experienced management team who works for me. I have five department managers in the areas of maintenance and housekeeping, culinary, marketing and sales, resident services and community business and activities. Our success is directly related to this experienced team that I am fortunate to have. Kay Tober, my marketing and sales director, has 12 years of experience. Read the full article >>

The Palms at Ponte Vedra celebrates two-year anniversary with Octoberfest event

The Palms at Ponte Vedra celebrates two-year anniversary with Octoberfest event

The Palms at Ponte Vedra celebrated its two-year anniversary with an Octoberfest-themed event Oct. 27.

A German village set the backdrop for a special evening including live music from Unique Entertainment, dancing, craft beer and a traditional German menu prepared by Culinary Director Darryl Young.

President Steve Sell honored employees and residents celebrating one-and two-year anniversaries during a special presentation.

See full article here>>

The Palms at Ponte Vedra renames memory care unit to “Morningside”

The Palms at Ponte Vedra renames memory care unit to “Morningside”

By Benjamin Naim

The Palms at Ponte Vedra recently changed the name of its memory care unit to “Morningside” after Dr. Todd Snowden — a Ponte Vedra resident and an ear, nose and throat specialist for Baptist Health system— suggested the change to Executive Director Barbara Matteson.

Snowden moved his parents to the Palms last year because he needed a facility that would provide them with an increased level of care. The ENT specialist was impressed with the services offered by the Palms at the time.

“They have common spaces, they have individual spaces and within those spaces there are activities planned throughout the week,” he said. “It’s a fairly diverse schedule of events to stimulate the residents and engage them physically, mentally and spiritually.”

Although Snowden was happy with the Palms’ services, he felt the “memory care unit” name didn’t match the level of care offered by the facility. “Memory care unit” sounded too “clinical, impersonal, ordinary and interchangeable,” and it didn’t accurately describe the Palms, Snowden asserted. He ended up suggesting a new name for the unit in a conversation with Matteson.

“As I talked to her about my suggestion, she said, ‘That’s a great idea,'” Snowden recalled. “So, they solicited ideas … Six months later, I had a conversation with her, and she said, ‘We listened to people and at the end of the day, we came back to Morningside, and our staff and our board liked that one the best.'”

Read the full article here>>

The Palms at Ponte Vedra Makes Local News

The Palms at Ponte Vedra Makes Local News

With the opening day for The Palms at Ponte Vedra drawing ever closer, local residents are taking notice of the beautiful, new assisted living facility in their neighborhood. Here’s a video from a First Coast News piece about the soon-to-open assisted living and memory care community. 
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