Advertisement

Halifax group starts letter-writing initiative for seniors facing loneliness amid COVID-19 pandemic

senior citizen on computer
Getty Images

A Halifax trio wants to make seniors across Nova Scotia feel a little less lonely during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Alexis Blake, 20, and two of her friends launched Letters Against Loneliness, an initiative aimed at connecting seniors with the general public.

“They don’t really have visitors right now, and that can be pretty lonely,” said Blake.

“I know most of us at home are feeling that little bit of loneliness, so just trying to make that human connection in a way that still complies with social distancing.”

READ MORE: ‘Pre-pandemic mode’ — How Canadian long-term care homes are preparing for coronavirus

Thousands of Nova Scotians live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the province. Many are over the age of 60 and may have underlying health conditions, which makes them particularly vulnerable to more serious complications from COVID-19. Because of this, the Nova Scotia government has restricted all visitors from entering long-term care facilities for the foreseeable future.

Story continues below advertisement

“They kind of rely on their visitors to come in and give them that extra little boost of energy,” Blake said.

“So we’re just kind of fostering the human connection a little bit to help make this time feel a little less lonely and a little less difficult.”

The group is calling on people of all ages to participate by writing a digital letter, which they will then distribute to seniors centres.

“They’re going to either print them off, if they can, or they’re going to read them from the email to the residents,” Blake explained.

So far, more than a dozen facilities have signed on, and Blake anticipates more will join in the coming days. She says you can write about anything and everything, but overall, residents just want to hear something positive.

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Coronavirus — First case of community spread identified in Nova Scotia

“I love what they want to hear about. It’s kind of like things you wouldn’t even think about,” said Blake.

“One person said food, just tell them about interesting food you’ve baked or something good you’ve tried; your pets, so your cute little animals running around your house; anything that’s going on in your life that’s positive, like funny little stories. And poems is one thing that somebody was really interested in.”

Blake says the majority of the recipients are English-speaking, however there are some residents hoping to get letters in French, Mi’kmaw, Hindu, Hungarian and Vietnamese.

If you’d like to participate, you can send a letter to LettersAgainstLoneliness.Can+submissions@gmail.com.