Your Child can write letters to those in isolation during COVID-19

Families around the country find their new normal during life in quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although most of us are still able to be around family, take walks outside, and even visit the grocery store, those who are in a complete isolation, like those in nursing homes and in hospitals, are experiencing long-term isolation that can be lonely and depressing.

COVID-19 has been found to affect the elderly and those with respiratory issues and diseases, or those who are found to have decreased immune systems. In fact, the first confirmed cases to reach the United States were in a nursing home in Washington state, prompting nursing homes around the country to close their doors to visitors or even to isolate individual persons from one another completely.

Nursing homes are one of the most lonely places for many of the residents, and many of them rely on regular visits from friends and family to boost their spirits. A study conducted in 2018 by Nordic College of Caring Science found that "The residents' unfulfilled need for meaningful relationships plays a crucial role in feelings of loneliness. Losing their self-determination due to institutionalization was strongly related to loneliness and caused strong emotions, such as grief." Many nursing homes across the country have shut their doors to outside visitors meaning that those who are living in assisted living are now more lonely than ever.

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In addition, many assisted living homes have also isolated individual patients from one another, which increases the loneliness they are experiencing. Stories like this one, about a husband and wife who have been forced to live separately in their assisted living homes while the wife battled with coronavirus. Research conducted by the University of Helsinki found that loneliness was often compounded with a resident's ability to engage in daily activities. With the COVID-19 quarantines in mind, this means that individual isolation, in addition to the isolation from visitors, can cause extreme loneliness in residents.

Having your child write letters to those in nursing homes is a great way to help combat the loneliness that those who are held in isolation are experiencing. It is also a wonderful way to teach your children about compassion for others during the COVID-19 pandemic, how the virus is affecting people in different ways, and help them work on their writing skills while they are out of school. Nancy Ludin, the director of an assisted living home in Florida, notes that receiving letters "makes an enormous difference to our residents. It tells them we are thinking of them, we care about them, and we are anxious to see them again. This is a great way to teach our kids how to be compassionate and kind during this time."

You don't have to worry that you will transmit coronavirus through letter-writing either. The United States Postal Service, along with the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the Surgeon General have noted that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is able to be transmitted through the mail. The WHO reaffirms this statement: "The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and been exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low."

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Below is a list from Today Parents if you or your child would like to send letters to those in nursing homes. You can also contact a nursing home in your area to see if they would be willing to receive letters as well, so you can help your local communities during this unfortunate situation.

Benedictine Health Systems Senior Care Communities

The non-profit, mission-based health system headquartered in Minnesota is soliciting #GramsforGrands at their locations in Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Minnesota. They will also accept emails for their residents at [email protected]

Children's Hospital Colorado

Your child can send a personal greeting to another child in the hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus, no stamp required! Just address the e-card to "A Special Patient" and the hospital volunteers will print and deliver the message to one of their current patients.

Brightview Arlington Senior Living Center

This Massachusetts center for seniors and memory care has 100 residents and would love any kind of card or drawing - "Any kind of message that will brighten their day," said a Brightview representative. Send envelopes to Paula Feldman, Vibrant Living Director, at 1 Symmes Road, Arlington, Massachusetts, 02474.

The Jewish Pavilion of Central Florida

This organization provides community connection to eldercare residents of all faiths and religious beliefs. They are seeking Easter, Passover, or general "Thinking of You" cards for their residents as well as any kind of general letter, drawing, or even craft project like blankets or pillows, which they will distribute to their residents in the Central Florida community. Send to The Jewish Pavilion, 421 Montgomery Road, Suite 131 Altamonte Springs, Florida, 32714.

Country Meadows Senior Care of Bethlehem

The senior living and retirement community would like letters for their residents, who cannot have visitors at this time. Send to Country Meadows of Bethlehem, Attention: Lynn Somers, 4011 Green Pond Road, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 18020.

Home Again Assisted Living Facility

"Shower our residents with love!" wrote the Home Again Assisted Living Facility on their website. They are asking for cards, drawings, or inspirational sayings for residents and ask letter writers to sign their first names and where they are from "to show how far love can travel." Send cards to Shyla Reigstad: Cards for Residents at one of these addresses: 308 England Street, Cambridge, Wisconsin, 53523; 110 Stuart Street, Columbus, Wisconsin, 53925; or 1120 Connery Cove, Waunakee, Wisconsin, 53597.

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Heartis Senior Living (Clear Lake)

The center is looking for "pen pals" for their residents. Send cards and letters to Heartis Clear Lake, 14520 Highway 3, Webster, Texas, 77598.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a scary situation, especially for those who find themselves in complete quarantine and isolation. But if this situation has taught us anything, it is that there are ways we can come together as a community like we never have before. Are there any other ways to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic? Let us know in the comments below!