The senior citizens living at 14 Victorian Senior Care centers in North Carolina have been on lockdown since Friday, March 13, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is the center hasn't had a single case of the virus.
Nearly 26% of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in retirement homes or assisted living facilities.
Three-and-a-half months of lockdown have put a psychological strain on the residents because they haven't been able to receive any visits from friends or family.
"It has been mentally straining on them not to see family members and loved ones," Meredith Seals, the chief operating officer of Victorian Senior Care, told CNN. "When you are used to having family there every day and then you can't, it's very lonely for them."
So to make the residents' days a little brighter, Victorian Senior Care reached out for help on social media. On June 24, the company put out a post featuring eight residents holding up signs that read, "Will you be my pen pal?" The post quickly went viral with over 32,000 people sharing it on Facebook.
Since the first post went viral, VSC has put up dozens of photos of seniors holding whiteboards with their names and interests. On each post, the VSC has the address to reach each pen pal.
Judy shares that she likes to watch home improvement shows on television, baking, and reading magazines.
via Victorian Senior Care
Amos is a veteran who likes action/adventure movies.
via Victorian Senior Care
Pauline loves to listen to rock 'n roll and watch scary movies.
Since social media posts went up, letters and gifts have been pouring in from all over the world. "They are overcome with joy when they see the mail," Seals said. "It's good to bring people together as much as we can.
Seals says that residents love receiving photos of people and pets and they are going to add a pen pal board to each facility so the residents can share their photos.
Every piece of mail that comes in is sanitized according to CDC guidelines before being distributed to the residents.
"We posted a world map in each facility and they are tracking where they are getting letters from," she said.
If you would like to have a pen pal but can't decide on which one of these lovely residents to reach out to, Seals will distribute your letter for you. Just be sure to write the theme of your letter (i.e. sports, veteran, dog, or crafts) on the envelope.
Those can be mailed to:
4270 Heath Dairy Road
Randleman, NC 27317
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