Loneliness!! A stressful feeling that just everyone is aware of. We all have a moment where we start feeling lonely and wish to have someone to communicate with. For some people, especially seniors or older adults, such feelings become a part of life.
In the US, about 28% (14.7 million) of community-dwelling older adults live alone, which is 21% of older men and 34% of older women.
Many older adults live alone, which makes their living incredibly difficult when there are no friends or family to reach out to. Even the pandemic has made everyone’s life quite challenging, where we need to maintain distance from loved ones with little company. This has worsened mental health concerns across age groups and increased the loneliness factors among the elderly. Such loneliness causes illness, depression, or even health.
While continuing to follow precautions, we still require a lot of intention to ensure regular contact with neighbors and loved ones. However, caregivers offering companionship services for seniors know this better. We, at Justin Villa Care, take care of your loved ones, spend quality time with them, and improve their overall health. Additionally, our companion care services supervise both the social and physical care of a senior.
Even many residential facilities also have launched pen pal programs for seniors while staying at home to prevent loneliness and build social connections. One of the effective ways to show appreciation for seniors is by talking to them through letters. Caregivers and other people who are interested in sharing their hobbies, knowledge, and experiences can connect with seniors through letters who enjoy the same things.
Let’s dig through to know more – how a pen pal provides companionship for older adults.
What are Pen Pal Programs?
Across the country, thousands of health care facilities and senior centers have developed programs like pen pals for seniors. In this, people of an aged group, adults from another generation, school-aged children connect with each other through these programs to share feelings and stories. These pen pal programs help seniors get a greater sense of connection and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation due to living alone or in long-term care facilities.
Despite providing companionship services, home care providers are also encouraging residents to make a difference in their community by writing a letter to an older adult.
Why Should Seniors Have Pen Pals?
In today’s age, writing letters may sound like an old-fashioned concept. However, older adults or elders usually enjoy the joy of receiving a handwritten note from a distant friend or family member. This is a great way to get companion for elderly. Here are the following reasons for having pen pals.
Prevent Loneliness & Maintain Social Connections
Pandemic and physical limitations, loneliness, and social isolation become common factors among seniors who live alone or distant from their family members. However, involving in pen pal programs provides a feeling of happiness where they can share jokes, experiences, and messages with another person. It boosts their mood, well-being, and keeps them healthy with age.
Seniors who require healthy well-being can also benefit from a professional in-home care provider. We, at Justin Vill Care, provide assistance for accomplishing daily tasks, preventing illness, and help in writing a letter to penpals.
Improve Memory & Communication Skills
Seniors involved in writing and reading letters activities can see improvement in their memory and language skills. When seniors spend time writing letters, it will automatically formulate new thoughts and ideas, which lessen the communication disorders. Seniors can take the help of caregivers to enhance their communication skills.
Promotes A Wider Perspective And New Interests
Making interaction with a pen pal living in another country helps seniors in knowing more about the country. This further prevents seniors from getting stuck in a boring routine. Pen pal programs provide an opportunity for your loved ones to share hobbies and activities while exchanging information.
Writing letters to pen pals is an enjoyable, interesting method to widen their social relations. Even seniors will enjoy reading the response of letters, which boosts their mood.
If your seniors require regular attention and care, hiring a caregiver is an ideal option. So, they receive companionship services according to their needs.
At Justin Villa Care, we extensively screen all our caregivers and only hire those who are experienced, qualified, and trained in the senior home care industry. Our services assure you that your loved ones remain in the comfort of home without any risk.
Improves Physical Health
Writing letters is also counted as physical activity. It is a way to exercise the joints and improve excellent motor skills and ability.
Hence, social interactions are essential for older people, whether it comes through a pen pal or from a companionship provider, caregiver. Families that require respite care can adopt our companionship services for assistance, from a few hours to a week. Our caregivers provide minor assistance in handling daily household tasks.
At Justin Villa Care, we thrive to help seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
How Older Adults Get Companionship From Pen Pal Programs?
You might be confused – how to become a companion for the elderly as a pen pal?
Several health care providers or caregivers work every day to assist seniors and the aging population in handling their day-to-day tasks. Some home care includes companionship services for services, like Justin Villa Care, to make your older adults feel connected and supported.
Apart from caregivers, other people can involve themselves and become pen pals in order to help seniors. It is a good investment to reduce the feeling of loneliness and isolation of older adults. Many home care providers are encouraging people to get involved in pen pal communities by writing letters to seniors.
Each year on June 1st, many people celebrate National Pen Pal Day, which is also a big opportunity for people and kids to help seniors to create lasting connections and friendships. To celebrate National Pen Pal Day, home care organizations suggest writing a letter to an older adult or organizing pen pal groups for this.
How to Get Involved?
People interested in writing a letter can submit it online or through pen pal programs organized by home care organizations. From there, home care communities will screen each letter for safety and security and pass it to a related aging adult. Pen pals must be age 13 or above. Many home care organizations would love to brighten the lives of lonely older adults in their communities. Take suggestions from our team for more information.
What to Write About?
Maybe you are thinking – what to write to an elderly pen pal? People can share their thoughts, feelings, and experience with seniors. Have fun with writing by adding details like hobbies and interests, such as favorite books and movies, a positive moment, or upcoming plans. However, do not share personal or financial information, like passwords.
How to Keep Conversation Smooth and Enjoyable
Conversations with seniors go smoothly when asked to share a fact, experience, or story. Being a pen pal, try to build a real, genuine connection with seniors. In this way, seniors will feel appreciated and get involved in taking the conversation further.
Feel free to ask if you have any questions. Our team will support and suggest you with appropriate information.
How to Find Pen Pals For Companionship?
With the availability of different health care providers in your community and online, it becomes quite easy to connect with pen pals. Here are some simple and effective tips to become a senior’s pen pal:
Connect With a Retirement Community or Health Care Providers
Nowadays, the market is full-fledged with some home care services that might have a pen pal program for seniors. Either you might have to search for pen pals or others might be able to connect with your seniors by yourself. Hence, create a list of the best health care providers offering pen pal programs to discover if there is someone who might be a good fit for your senior.
Start Participating in Volunteer Groups
There are even some volunteer groups committed to assisting seniors in the community. They already have registered with pen pal programs to enhance their focus and cognitive skills, as well as reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Many Facebook groups are dedicated to connecting seniors to pen pals. So, start looking for such groups available in your local area that can help seniors in finding someone who has the same interests.
Get Ready to Help Seniors!
As discussed above, many health care organizations are running successful pen pal programs for seniors. The overall aim of taking pen pal initiatives is to help senior residents and give them a sense of friendship. These programs help the aging adults feel connected when they share hobbies, interests, personal views, and experiences with a friendly ear. It also provides connection and companionship for elderly.
Do you want to know more about pen pal services or other companionship services? Contact us today and take suggestions from our qualified and proficient staff.