Penpals: Connecting children and the elderly in isolation
These are strange times, and no doubt there are feelings of restlessness and loneliness amongst children and the elderly, cut off from their usual circles of friends and sources of activity.
With this in mind, let's encourage our youngest generation to write to our oldest!
They could share photos, drawings, poems - by hand or via any of the many apps out there such as touchnote.
Whatever your child decides to include, feel free to invite a response. Even if the person isn't able to write back themselves, if your child asks a question, it will get the person thinking and talking.
- Including a cut out from a magazine and writing "this makes me think of xxx, what does it make you think of?"
- Taking a photo from a walk and writing "do you have any favourite walks?"
- Drawing a picture and writing "i drew this because i'm feeling xxx today. How are you feeling today?"
It is a wonderful opportunity to strike up a new friendship, put a smile on someone vulnerable's face, brighten up a room, and prompt a new discussion between a resident and their fatigued carers.
If you don't have someone in mind then you might chose a local care home. Please contact the care home first to confirm that this is something they are comfortable with (you can reassure them that the virus only lives on paper for <17 hrs). Bear in mind that homes may already be very busy answering calls, so use email or social media to get in touch if you can. You could also perhaps ask for the name of a particular resident who doesn't have family / friends as they won't be receiving any other post.
The simple act of writing to someone could make a difference to the wellbeing of a vulnerable older person, your child and you.