We’re all looking for positive ways to keep busy this summer and here’s an activity that will also help you brighten the day of an older person or an adult with special needs.
Studies show that 40% of nursing home residents are affected by loneliness and it’s probably been even higher this year because of social-distancing measures. Residents at many nursing homes and senior care facilities are prohibited from seeing non-essential visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s where you come in!
Connecting Pen Pals
Victorian Senior Care is a group of retirement communities located throughout North Carolina. The company is reaching out to the world via Facebook, asking caring strangers to “adopt” its residents as pen pals.
“We hate that we are not able to have our normal visitors due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Victorian Senior Care posted on Facebook. “So we … would like to pass the time by writing our pen pals!”
Victorian Senior Care has consistently updated its page with pictures and descriptions of residents who would enjoy receiving mail. For example, this post shows some residents at Phoenix Assisted Care in Cary, North Carolina, and also includes links to other posts with residents at various locations.
Each resident is looking for a friend with interests that match their own, whether it be chocolate, dogs, soccer, painting or crafting, among many others. You can read the cards in front of each resident in the Facebook post to see what they love talking about.
Caring individuals and families have already sent dozens of cards, letters and small gifts as a result of the campaign.
“First of all, we want to thank everyone that has been involved in our #VSCPenPals,” Victorian Senior Care posted. “We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support not just from our own state or country but from all around the world! Our residents are truly the reason we do what we do and seeing the excitement and smiles on their faces make our day.”
The smiling faces and happy exclamations of recipients speak volumes. Saundra, shown in the video here, loves the joy her pen pals bring to her life.
That’s just one of the videos Victorian Senior Care has posted of its residents talking about the program. In another one, a woman named Linda does the same. It’s actually hard to watch her without smiling yourself.
“Ms. Linda would like to say thank you for all of her letters,” Victorian Senior Care posted. “She was so happy to hear from her new pen pals!”
If you would like to become a pen pal to these folks, the organization asks that you choose one or more residents and send them a letter to the address of the location where they reside, listed on Facebook. Alternatively, you can send a letter to the company’s main office and they will match your letter with a resident in one of their communities. That address is below.
Victorian Senior Care
4270 Heath Dairy Road
Randleman, NC 27317
They do ask for patience when awaiting replies. The staff at each community is working with residents to write back to their new pen pals.