This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own. Westwood's seniors will soon be writing to Westwood's high school seniors and juniors, sophomores, and freshmen. From October until May , Westwood Writes participants will write to each other monthly. We both believe in partnerships between students and seniors and this just seemed to be a great possibility," explains Westwood Council on Aging director Lina Arena-DeRosa.
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After nearly four months of being unable to have regular visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, residents at the Victorian Senior Care Community are finding safe ways to communicate with new friends outside the facility's walls. Residents at the senior care facility in North Carolina are using pen and paper to meet new friends not only in the United States, but also around the world. From North Carolina to Great Britain, pen pals are sending letters and packages to seniors at the assisted living home after seeing a Facebook post saying that residents were looking for pen pals. The June 26 post on the VSC Facebook page has now gone viral, with over 18, shares from people across the globe interested in sending letters to residents.
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Across the country, senior care facilities and senior centers are creating programs to provide pen pals for seniors. Whether they connect with peers in their own age groups, adults from another generation or school-aged children , sharing letters and stories with another person can help seniors feel a greater sense of connection and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation for those living alone or in long-term care facilities. A report published by the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language and Literacy points to the many benefits of writing, which can include enhancing one's focus and cognitive skills, as well as reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. When corresponding with another person via letter writing, seniors can also feel a strong sense of connection that may lead to an overall improvement in happiness and well-being.
The coronavirus pandemic has got all of us looking for that meaningful interaction with friends. For some, it has been easier to do than for others. Writing letters is a good way to connect with friends near and far and maybe even make a new one.