To combat loneliness amongst care home residents, a 16-year old student has set up Community Senior Letters, an initiative that has helped match more than 120 primary schools and over 100 care homes, to write letters to elderly residents in their area during the COVID-19 crisis.
The mastermind behind this innovative project is Nina Andersen, a 16-year old student from London. She has previously set up Community Senior Music, where semi-professional musicians performed concerts at various care homes. Due to COVID-19, she has had to switch from musical entertainment to handwritten letters to help care home residents stay connected during these unprecedented times.
Community Senior Letters aims to match primary schools to care homes in the same borough to provide human connection during lockdown. This allows hope and happiness to be brought to the elderly residents at care homes, and for them to form wonderful friendships. Likewise, students are able to form friendships by unleashing their inner creativity as they send letters and drawings to the care homes.
“I believe that letters and drawings have the power to affect empathy and connection between two people from different generations, contexts, and walks of life,” Nina Andersen, Founder of Community Senior Letters said. “Sending and receiving these letters helps to uplift spirits, ease stress and relax the mind. Not only does it provide elderly people with some form of human connection during isolation, but it also helps to alleviate any boredom the pupils may be feeling.”
Nina has been working on this project alongside her studies. “I find it challenging at times to manage the workload, but it makes my day when I receive pictures of handwritten letters from primary school children, or emails from care homes expressing their gratitude and appreciation for this project,” she explained.
Rosclare Care Home, a care home based in Kingston, is one of the care homes to have signed up to the project. “The residents at Rosclare have been deeply touched by the children’s work; they have enjoyed every card, read every letter and admired every painting they received. The love and thoughts poured into the notes have certainly made their day!”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have announced there is currently no evidence indicating COVID-19 can be spread through post, allowing letters to be received safely by the care homes.
This initiative demonstrates that even a small act of kindness, such as writing and sending a letter, can make a big difference to someone else’s life.
Community Senior Letters would love for more schools and care homes to get involved. To do so please email communityseniorletters @ gmail.com.