There may be at least five decades between these pen pals, but letter writing is helping to not only bridge the generation gap but create connections in a time of increased physical distancing.
The old-school method of keeping in touch has been adopted in a bid to create meaningful connections between students and those living in MercyCare’s retirement village and our five aged care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents are being supported as needed and the Spiritual Care team is to be commended on their engagement.
Students from across a number of Perth primary and secondary students have been connected with MercyCare residents resulting in some delightful correspondence between the two.
Partnerships have been formed with a number of local schools including Rehoboth Christian College, Aspiri Primary School, Tranby College and Forrestdale Primary School.
Occupational Therapist Letisha Stanley, who is based at our Residential Rockingham Aged Care Home said residents have enjoyed the experience of writing and receiving letters.
“It’s a great way for the residents to interact with more people and it’s also a good form of mental stimulation,” she said.
MercyCare staff provide support for those requiring it to help them keep up their letter writing.
“Some of our residents live with dementia or simply need a little one on one assistance, while working on their letters they often reminisce as old memories are brought up from their time at school, it’s a lovely process to be involved in,” Ms Stanley said.
Joondalup RAC Pastoral Care Worker Luisa Koloofai said residents were also enjoying the pen pal program.
“The residents face lights up, having a giggle and reminiscing when they were young, they love the drawings and how smart they are with their writing and so neat with their handwriting. We can’t help but join in their joy,” she said.
Partnerships, like these with schools and other sections of the communities MercyCare operates within, are valuable connections which reinforce the MercyCare values and mission.
Letter writing is just one of the ways MercyCare is ensuring aged care home residents are able to maintain meaningful connections.
Executive Director Aged Care Services Joanne Penman said alongside providing excellent care, residents need connections to their family, loved ones and the wider community.
“We understand a person’s well-being and mental health is as important as their physical health,” she said.
“Connection is at the core of being human and MercyCare is proud to be able to support our residents in linking them with students to increase connections.”