During the coronavirus pandemic, it’s been said that we are all in this together.
For some though, the experience can be a little lonelier.
As many states begin to re-open restaurants and businesses, a return to some form of a social life is beginning to emerge. But despite lifting restrictions, many remain in place for seniors in assisted living facilities to protect them from the deadly infections seen across the country in similar centers.
That doesn’t mean the public can’t let know they are still remembered.
Madison Heights Evans near Augusta, Georgia is asking for people from across the country to send in personalized greeting cards to brighten their residents’ day.
During the pandemic, the 38 residents’ daily routines have been dramatically altered. For months they have missed out on interactions with friends and face-to-face family visits, says Kelly Adriano, lifestyles director for the center.
“We want to ensure that we are continuing to find joy in the small moments and a simple way to do that is through a card or greeting which is an easy gesture that shows someone is thinking of you,” she shared.
The project began in May, by asking people nationwide to mail cards to Madison Heights residents. The center put out a call for cards on their Facebook page and soon residents began receiving mail.
So far, the senior living center has received cards from 16 U.S. states, with a goal of receiving well-wishes from all 50 states.
Each envelope delivered is a special connection letting the resident know someone out there is thinking of them, Adriano said.
“The residents have loved the cards they have received so far! They enjoy looking at the envelope to see what state the card is from. After they have studied the envelope, they read the message or look at the photos inside,” she added.
Many of the center’s residents suffer from memory loss or dementia, and seeing a new message from a faraway state they may have once visited brings back a flood of memories of their own travels, helping them reconnect to their past in new ways.
It doesn’t take much to let the residents know they are being thought of, Adriano says. A little note in a card, or a photo of a favorite pet or travel spot, can hours of joy for those who have been quarantined inside these past several months.
“All cards are appreciated, and a message of hope, encouragement and love are wonderful to make the residents feel their value,” Adriano added.
“Most of our residents are devoted animal lovers, so cards with a picture of an animal are always a hit! Residents smile especially big when there is a photo included or a drawing from a child,” she said.
Madison Heights staff say even when the pandemic passes, there will always be a need and a desire from those in assisted living communities to remain connected to the outside world.
Just a small note, or greeting can have a big impact on someone who has been separated from those they love most.
“It is uplifting to know that someone is thinking of you,” Adriano added.