A new initiative launched by Anchor Hanover, England’s largest not for profit provider of care and housing for older people, is encouraging people to send letters, pictures and poems to care home residents in their local community during the Coronavirus pandemic.
In these unprecedented times, older people across the UK are being advised to limit social contact for a prolonged period, and Anchor Hanover has stopped non-essential visits to residents in care homes. In response, the #BeKindToOneAnother initiative aims to keep communities connected whilst bringing joy to residents during periods of isolation.
Through the #BeKindToOneAnother hashtag, Anchor care homes are reaching out to their local communities via Twitter and Facebook, asking people to send letters, pictures or poems to residents. With children now home for school for the foreseeable future, the initiative is mutually beneficial as it provides young people with a meaningful and creative outlet.
The response so far has been heart-warming, with Anchor care homes inundated with bundles of messages from local schools and members of the community. Residents are particularly touched when receiving letters, sparking memories of how they used to stay in contact with loved ones and pen pals.
At a time when 1.2million older people in the UK are chronically lonely, the messages are brightening residents’ days, lifting spirits and providing a source of comfort and companionship.
Cath Holmes, Service Improvement Manager at Anchor Hanover said:
“The mental wellbeing of our residents is of paramount importance, and we continuously look for innovative ways for our residents to stay connected with their loved ones and the outside world. We’re so grateful for all the responses we received to our #BeKindToOneAnother initiative, and we’d like to thank everyone who’s sent messages so far.
“In these challenging times, a lot of people are finding themselves with a bit more time on their hands, so we’d encourage everyone to spend a little time create something for our residents. Every message received makes a real difference to our colleagues and residents.”
Kristy Smith, manager at St. Mary’s care home in Suffolk, has publicly thanked all those who’ve sent in post, including their local primary school.
Commenting on the messages received in the past few days, Carrie Lewis, home manager at Kimberley Court care home in Newquay, said:
“We’ve had an influx of photos and messages and have spent all day going through the pictures. It’s really lovely because some people have said they’re going to come and visit the residents they’ve been sending letters to when this all blows over.”
Carol Holmes, District Wellbeing Coordinator, who looks after Chesterton Lodge care home in Newcastle-under-Lyme, said:
“It’s been fantastic to let the residents know that they’re being thought about. They were overwhelmed by how many people sent in messages.”
Anchor Hanover is encouraging people across the country to send letters, pictures or poems to older people living in their neighbourhood, or in a different part of the country. Anchor Hanover has more than 100 care homes throughout England, and people can find their nearest care home’s address by visiting: www.anchorhanover.org.uk/care-homes
To download a selection of photos of residents receiving post from their community, click here.