Stephen: Pen-pals making a comeback at New Hampshire nursing home

A pair of nursing homes in the Concorde, New Hampshire area began a pen pal letter exchange during the coronavirus lockdowns as a way to ease loneliness for residents, the AP reports. But after the program was highlighted in local media, “That’s when the trouble began,” said Rich Vanderweit, who conceived of the program while working at Sullivan County Health Care. Soon, at least 700 letters began pouring in from around the U.S.

Flo Young, a 93-year-old resident of the Sullivan County home, said she didn’t think much of the program initially. “I thought maybe we’d get a couple of letters or so, but boy, we got bombarded!” she said. Another resident, Marion Duford, said she hopes to meet one of her pen pals who lives in nearby Charlestown. “I get all excited when I get a letter,” she said. “It’s an old-time thing, but it’s a chance to meet new people.” Vanderweit says the program has really lifted the spirits of those involved. “It started out as people writing to us to offer support, and now we are also supporting our new friends,” adding, “We are swamped, but it’s beautiful.”

 

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