Letters Against Isolation Do you know someone who is isolated and would welcome a handwritten note?Mar 01, 2021 10:09AM ● By Theresa Knapp
Letters Against Isolation was started by two teenagers who noticed the effect their cards and letters had on their grandmother. Volunteers from around the world can sign up to write as many or as few letters as they like to senior citizens who are associated with a facility that has registered with the website. Facilities are located on several continents and include local senior centers with day programs to long-term facilities, some with memory care. There are many facilities in Massachusetts.
How do I participate in letter-writing?
You choose a facility from those available during the current two-week period then commit to writing a certain number of letters. The site offers guidance such as:
• You will be writing to an anonymous recipient, so address the card “Dear Friend” (or similar)
• Handwritten letters or cards are best
• Decorated letters are exciting for recipients
• Your message should be cheerful and creative
• Do NOT include any contact information in your letters (email, address, phone number, etc.)
How do I nominate a facility to receive letters?
Letters Against Isolation is always adding more facilities to its list. To nominate a facility, visit the “Care Homes” page on the website. There, the host facility will fill out a form to be added to the list.
Will it make a difference?
Rates of social isolation and loneliness have increased greatly during the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is strong evidence that many adults aged 50 and older are socially isolated or lonely in ways that put their health at risk. Recent studies have found that:
• Social isolation significantly increased a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.
• Social isolation was associated with about a 50 percent percent increased risk of dementia.
• Poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29 percent increased risk of heart disease and a 32 percent increased risk of stroke.
• Loneliness was associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Loneliness among heart failure patients was associated with a nearly four times increased risk of death, 68 percent increased risk of hospitalization, and 57 percent increased risk of emergency department visits. [CDC.com]