As residents in nursing homes continue to be separated from family and friends, Rosemount Pavilion has been helping their residents from getting depressed and feeling down by connecting them with children.
“We are doing a Pen Pal program to connect kids that are home from school and our residents that are stuck indoor without contact from home,” Ashley N Oesch, TFCBTC/BSW/MSW, Director of Marketing and Admissions said.
Oesch said they are receiving tons of letters, and that it was well worth setting the exchange up. Oesch and Tim Huff, LNHA Regional Director of Operations, came up with the idea and started putting it together.
“We are totally fine with people still sending them, we are getting a bunch, but we’ll definitely respond to them all and stuff like that as long as they keep sending them, we’ll keep replying,” Oesch said.
On their Facebook page, it states, “We want to encourage anyone that writes to us, and we respond to share their pictures with us. They can follow our Facebook page called Rosemount Pavilion. We will share the pictures or videos that parents share of their children getting their mail.”
Oesch shared residents were reacting to the letters and didn’t realize children were not going to school, they knew things were going on out in the world, but not that the students were not at school.
“We try to match people with a common interest or if it looks like they would like certain ones,” Oesch said. “There was a kid that wanted to be a police officer, so we have a resident who used to be a police officer and they are kind of connected that way, so we put those two together. I had somebody from Georgia that wrote and New Mexico, we’ve had them from all over the country, people just sending stuff. There was a lady that said her family was from Otway and she lives in Georgia and the patient we matched has the same maiden name.”
Oesch said many of the residents were writing the letters themselves, but there were a few that were not but got assistants from nursing home employees.
“I had this one from a 4-year-old kid from Wheelersburg and he drew a picture and said his favorite food was pizza and his favorite color was blue and one our patient responded with her name and she is 74 years old, who just wanted us to write, ‘Do you like hot dogs?’ that is all she wanted us to write. We have some that are just coloring pen pals to maybe younger kids. Some are very detailed and some are not. We have some adults that are writing in too. It’s been good for us to help the patients have somebody. It has kind of been a project I’ve been keeping things in my office and making sure they all get responses; I keep the envelopes, so we have the addresses.”
Oesch stated that with the fine gross motor skills some patients need, their therapists are having them write for part of their therapy. She said that it has been very beneficial.
Oesch spoke on the overall morale at the nursing home and shared that spirits were high.
“I don’t have much to compare this to, but honestly, it’s been good for us, it forces us to slow down a bit more and there are not all these phone calls and it gives us time with the residents without so many interruptions,” Oesch said. “I think it’s worked because we have a lot of one or one time with the patients, they are happy, they are even going outside in the gazebo area and they are playing different games. We are trying to keep it as normal as we can, it helps because even our nurses are involved with it. I think our morale is as good as it can be given the situation.”
Any child interested in the pen pal program can still submit a letter by writing or drawing for the residents at Rosemount Pavilion and mailing it in.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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