Care home providers are turning to good old fashioned letter writing to help residents stay in touch with each other and the wider community during the coronavirus outbreak.
Separate programmes have been launched by Scottish care home provider Balhousie Care Group and luxury care home provider Sanders Senior Living to help combat feelings of isolation and loneliness during this difficult time.
Residents at Balhousie’s Rumbling Bridge and Dalnaglar care homes n Perthshire are forming friendships with each other through a ‘pen-pal’ writing club.
“Some of our service users have not had a letter through the post in years,” said Carol Stillie, Activities Coordinator at Balhousie Rumbling Bridge care home. “We had great fun writing the letters and it triggered lots of memories and conversation.”
Other care homes in the Group are also planning to introduce pen-pal writing clubs in the coming weeks to help build more cross-home friendships.
Sanders Senior Living’s Claridge Place in Solihull, Warwickshire, meanwhile, has introduced an intergenerational pen pal initiative in partnership with their local school.
The scheme is the brainchild of Claridge Place Director, Peta Mandleberg, who though it would be a great idea to connect with a school to help reduce loneliness and isolation during this time.
Peta approached Tudor Grange Academy, where her step daughter happens to work, who immediately confirmed they were keen to support the initiative as it linked directly to their values, which include Kindness and Empathy.
It is hoped that the pen pals will meet each other and form lasting friendships when the virus has passed.