Looking for a Pen Pal? Here’s How You Can Write a Letter to a Senior

Our pen pal initiative creates meaningful, safe friendships between older adults and volunteer letter writers of all ages. Learn more about how you can get involved.

November 28, 2020

When we rely on our phones and text messages to convey deep love and appreciation, feelings can get lost in translation. When was the last time someone threw pebbles at your window to check in? When was the last time you sent a postcard while on a trip? When was the last time you sent a letter to show someone you care? Connecting in these unique, personal ways isn’t a thing of the past. Whether you’re younger or older, taking the time to write a letter speaks volumes. For lonely seniors, it may be the one interaction they’ve had in a long time.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 14 million older adults experience loneliness regularly – often going days or even weeks without any social interaction. Isolation from loved ones and friends is a major factor identified by the CDC that contributes to increased risk for loneliness and social isolation in older adults.

For many seniors, social distancing has amplified the loneliness they already feel. In fact, a recent study from ValuePenguin.com found that 36% of American seniors aged 75 and older have reported increased feelings of loneliness during the pandemic. As the aging population continues to grow across the U.S. and around the world, these statistics cast light on a concerning trend. While social distancing is necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, isolation can have a dangerous impact on the physical and mental health of many older adults.

Become a Pen Pal to a Senior

This is where Ready to Care® by Home Instead® comes in. We’re calling people with caring hearts to become a pen pal and write letters to uplift and touch the hearts of seniors across North America. Writing a letter is a simple act of kindness that can brighten the day of an older adult.

Addressing Loneliness One Letter at a Time

Becoming a pen pal doesn’t just benefit the seniors who receive letters, it helps those writing letters bring joy to the world and maybe even share a beloved hobby or talent.

Our community member, Victoria, submitted a letter and heard back from her pen pal Ms. Jacquie through email over the summer. Ever since, the two have found creative ways to connect through their shared love of reading, art, and music.

Ms. Jacquie’s Home Instead CAREGiver℠ captured a touching moment between the two ladies after Victoria found out that Raindrops on Roses from The Sound of Music was one of Ms. Jacquie’s favorite songs and sang it for her on video. Victoria’s hidden talent put a huge smile on Ms. Jacquie’s face. Their shared love for music has fostered a beautiful friendship between the two pen pals, who continue to share sweet moments like this through letters, calls, and videos.

Are you ready to become a pen pal and brighten a senior’s day? Getting started is simple.

  1. Visit readytocare.com/penpals to send your first letter today.
  2. Request a return letter from your pen pal.
  3. Spread the word! Nominate neighbors or loved ones who might be in need of a meaningful connection by emailing [email protected].

Categories: Support Seniors