Seniors are lonely with a strict no-visitor rule due to the coronavirus. Yet, the solution to senior isolation is something that has been around for decades. Finding penpals. Writing penpal letters to nursing homes is the newest trend to hit.
But first, why? Why is this so important? Seniors are most at risk right now with COVID-19 and therefore feeling most isolated. Those who particularly feel isolated and are most affected are living in assisted living facilities and senior centers and have been unable to have visitors stop by for their own safety. While some have been able to venture out with a mask as things have started to open up, most facilities remain closed and leave us limited with ways that we can help these isolated Seniors feel happy, loved, and cared for.
How Being A PenPal Can End Loneliness In Senior Homes
Modern day technologies like Facetime, social media, and texting are also great ways to communicate with seniors and stay connected. But sometimes having a penpal and frequently writing letters just makes communicating more fun. There is nothing like receiving a letter in the mail and knowing that someone put extra love, care and attention in writing to you. Plus don’t we all get more excited when our mail is not a bill?
Finding Your Next Senior Pen Pal
For me, it was really magical to see how fast the penpal program for nursing home residents took off on social media. Especially since I am an advocate for seniors and helping them generate genuine relationships. A lot of the work I do is focused around helping seniors feel happy and less lonely. I have even written a book that teaches children and grandparents how to have the best video call ever. So you can understand my excitement when I saw seniors being linked to new penpals trending on social media!
Finding a senior penpal is very easy with quick online search: find a senior to send a penpal letter to… you’ll find plenty of ways to connect with a penpal. Writing the letter only takes 10 minutes out of your day. What can you say? How can you make this letter the BEST penpal letter ever? DRUMROLL — we’re finally to the good stuff:
HOW TO WRITE THE BEST PENPAL LETTER EVER
- Tell whoever it is you are writing to a little bit about yourself. If this is your first letter, it’s important that you introduce yourself.
- Where did you grow up?
- What do you do for work?
- What would you like to do for work one day?
- What are your hobbies?
- Tell them what you love to do in your spare time. Do you love to read? If so, what’s your favorite book and why? What did you learn from this book?
- Do you love to garden? Why? What does gardening mean to you in your life, how does it make you feel?
- Do you enjoy sports? What sports? What is so fun about that sport and do you enjoy playing AND watching this sport?
- What is something you’ve learned about yourself during quarantine?
- What is something you miss about life before COVID-19? Was it something you’d expect to be missing?
- What is something new that you’ve started to do during COVID-19?
- What is something you do to keep yourself happy during quarantine?
- Do you draw? Draw something for this person you’re writing a letter to!
- Do you have hopes and dreams that you’d like to share in your letter? How about passions — what are you passionate about?
When writing to your penpal doesn’t take long. Think about it this way, if you prioritize helping someone in need to feel less lonely, surely you can find 10 minutes to spare out of your entire week. We all have time to spare if it means bringing a smile to a stranger’s face who is holding back tears of loneliness.