“Sending Support: Battling Isolation, Seniors Find Comfort in Pen Pals” – Route Fifty

“Senior centers, nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the country have launched pen-pal programs to help older adults battle social isolation created by the coronavirus.”

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Some programs pair older adults with children, while others invite members of the community to submit uplifting and positive messages to nursing home residents. SHUTTERSTOCK”

by Kate Elizabeth Queram

“As the coronavirus spread toward New Hampshire and communities began advising residents to isolate at home, Rich Vanderweit began brainstorming.

Vanderweit, an activity aide at Sullivan County Health Care in Unity, N.H., was concerned about the effects that social isolation would have on the nursing and rehab facility’s 135 residents. It’s a community-driven home, he said, where visitors come to see one person and end up chatting at length with a dozen others—so when the facility went on lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus, he worried that the seniors would feel abandoned.

“’And the idea just came to me—a pen-pal program,’ he said.”

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