#CareCollective > Pen Pals for the Elderly: Providing Companionship for Older Adults

Pen Pals for the Elderly: Providing Companionship for Older Adults

Pen pals for the elderly
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The pandemic has given the wider population a better understanding of what life can be like for older adults who may regularly experience loneliness.

Writing a letter to an older adult will go a long way to brightening up their day while helping to ward off feelings of isolation. You might even make a new-found friend. Here, we’ve looked at pen pals for the elderly in the UK and how you can become one, regardless of your age.

Note: You can write to an elderly person, regardless of how young or old you are. If you happen to be of a similar age then this will likely help with quickly finding shared connections. Before you know it, you’ll be regularly exchanging letters!

How to Get a Pen Pal

One of the best ways to get an elderly pen pal is through Home Instead’s pen pal scheme. Their pen-pal programme connects you with a senior to help prevent loneliness and social isolation. By following the link above, you can write a letter and submit it for approval - it’s that simple! By providing your email or mailing address, you can then keep in touch with your pen pal.

Home Instead provides sample letters that can be copied or downloaded. The programme is completely free to young people and seniors alike.

How to get an elderly pen pal

Getting Involved

If you’d like to become a pen pal for an elderly person in the UK then you can do so by submitting a letter (and optionally a photo) through Ready to Care. From there, each letter will be screened for safety and security, before being passed along to an older adult. All participants need to be aged 13 or above, unless the submission is coordinated by a parent or teacher.

With that being said, this particular scheme isn’t just aimed at the younger generation. The elderly are also encouraged to write and share their experiences with someone of an older age. As we’ll explain later, there are benefits all-round to having a pen pal, regardless of whether you’re 25 or 85.

What Should You Write About?

Honestly, pretty much anything! If you think it might be interesting, then there’s a good chance that other people will as well. You could write about the hobbies you enjoy, books you like reading, films and TV shows you love watching or any upcoming plans you might have. A little bit of positivity can go a long way, so be sure to mention anything good that’s recently happened involving you or someone else you know.

When it comes to writing for an elderly pen pal, the sky’s the limit, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

The only thing you should avoid mentioning is any personal or financial information, along with anything that might be deemed inappropriate.

Keeping the Conversation Going

When sending your letter off, don’t forget to request a letter in return. You can do this by sharing your email (or mailing address) online. Try and keep the conversation flowing by asking some questions in return, such as any interesting facts or stories that your new pen pal may have.

Other Places to Find a Pen Pal

Aside from where we’ve talked about, there are loads of other websites dedicated to bringing people together through the medium of writing. Some of these pen pal sites focus on improving language skills, whereas others are simply for opening up lines of communication between people who wouldn’t normally talk.

Two of the most popular online pen pal services are:

What Are the Benefits of Having a Pen Pal?

Here are some of the biggest benefits to having a pen pal, both for yourself and the older adult that you’re writing to:

  • Providing some much-needed companionship for older adults - Pen pals are beneficial to a segment of society which is often overlooked - this being the elderly. Having a pen pal provides older adults with a great opportunity to socialise with others

  • Spreading joy and happiness - This extra socialisation will go a long way to spreading some much-needed joy with older adults and throughout their communities

  • Learning from the experiences of others and bringing different generations together - Getting to know people of different ages provides benefits for everyone concerned. Hearing stories and understanding more of somebody else’s life helps to build empathy and broaden horizons, challenging any pre-existing stereotypes in the process

Searching for an elderly care home can be a stressful and time-consuming operation. Thankfully, Lottie removes much of the difficulty from this process by connecting elderly people to the UK’s very best care homes through years of human expertise and smart technology.

Check out Lottie and everything care-related we have to offer!

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