Home Instead delivers 100 letters to Pine Belt seniors

Pine Belt News

FILE – In this April 23, 2020, file photo, Raelene Critchlow, 86, receives a visit from her great-grandchild Camille Carter, 6, at Creekside Senior Living in Bountiful, Utah. Window visits help seniors connect to families despite coronavirus restrictions. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – Home Instead combats senior loneliness by assigning pen pals for seniors. They delivered 100 letters to seniors in the month of June.

To help reduce these feelings of loneliness and isolation among older adults, Home Instead partnered with Ready to Care for National Pen Pals Day and has kept the program running. Officials said studies show isolation can have significant health implications such as higher risks of heart attack, stroke, depression, anxiety and even premature death for seniors.

“Loneliness is one of the most devastating issues facing our aging population, but it’s also something we’re capable of addressing,” said Anna Edenfield, owner of the Home Instead. “After a year of isolating at home, we need a little creativity and a lot of intention to ensure regular contact with neighbors and loved ones.”

The organization has partnered with local facilities like Wesley Manor in Hattiesburg and other organizations to distribute notes of encouragement.

“These letters may seem like a simple act of kindness, but they really can brighten the day of an older adult,” said Edenfield. “Every time I read a letter from a volunteer or see a senior’s face light up when they hear from their pen pal, I’m reminded of the true power of community.”

Leaders said becoming a pen pal is simple. Members of the community can submit letters, photos or video messages at readytocare.com/penpals to create a meaningful connection with a senior. They can also nominate a senior to receive a letter, or even request a letter themselves, by contacting info@readytocare.com.

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