Qu’Appelle House Seniors Care Home starts pen pal program during COVID-19 pandemic

Residents of Qu’Appelle House Seniors Care Home in Regina have started a pen pal program to help combat isolation and loneliness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recreation Coordinator Jillyan Clark started the pen pal program after a conversation with her sister. The program gets children, who are also struggling with social isolation due to the pandemic, to write to seniors in the care home. To avoid any contact, recreation coordinator Jillyan Clark will take a picture of the letters and show them to the seniors, who then write a reply.

Clark said it’s been an exciting program for the seniors.

“It’s been a lot time since a lot of them have written a letter, so this have kind of been a surprise for them to reignite that.”

Clark said support has been overwhelming.

“I went into this making a simple Facebook post and expecting maybe letters from family, or maybe about 20 letters from the community,” Clark said. “(With) how it was being shared, right now we’ve had over 80 letters and over 50 pieces of artwork sent our way.”

Clark said she plans on continuing this program after the pandemic.

“It’s been such a good program here, and it’s really shown the residents that they can have connections outside of their friends and family,” Clark said. “I think it’s really beneficial for kids that are learning how to write letters or learning some art work.”

Children are also drawing pictures and sending them to seniors. It prompted Clark to create a “joy wall” where all of the pictures are hung up on the wall. It now stretches to three different walls.

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