Liam, 6, chats with his nana via FaceTime. His mom, Erica Kerry, has launched a program that aims to connect other kids with seniors in retirement communities and care homes, to reduce the impacts of isolation and loneliness. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey-based pen-pal program aims to reduce seniors’ isolation during pandemic

South Surrey/White Rock concierge service to connects kids & seniors virtually

An inter-generational pen-pal program has launched, aiming to take the edge off of the loneliness and sense of isolation that seniors in care homes and retirement communities may be feeling during the pandemic.

The Grand-Friends Pen Pal Program is an initiative of Erica Kerry of Renewed Living, a concierge service for seniors that began last fall to help seniors in South Surrey/White Rock who are looking to transition to a senior-living community.

READ MORE: Senior concierge service launched in South Surrey/White Rock

The pen-pal program, Kerry explained in a news release, will connect kids and seniors via email and video chat.

“This pandemic has affected kids as well; they have closed all schools indefinitely,” Kerry said. “Therefore, kids of all ages are sitting at home feeling isolated themselves (and probably driving their parents crazy).

“So I saw this as an opportunity to not only bring the two generations together, but also create companionship along the way.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, retirement communities and long-term care facilities are taking measures to help keep their residents safe and healthy, including limiting visitors to essential circumstances, limiting programming and having all meals eaten in residents’ suites.

Those measures are not expected to end anytime soon, according to B.C.’s provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix.

Dix said Tuesday (March 31) there is “zero chance” of provincial health orders around the pandemic being lifted this month, and little to no chance that’ll change in May, “or in the immediate weeks after that.”

READ MORE: B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Kerry said while social distancing is important during this time, it can have a detrimental impact on everyone’s mental well-being, especially seniors.

The pen-pal program aims to help alleviate those impacts, she said.

Kerry described video chats as “a great tool” that will enable kids and seniors who participate in the pen-pal program to do things like bake or do a craft “together,” read to each other and more.

The goal, she added, is that when the pandemic subsides, the Grand-Friends will be able to meet in person and continue their relationship.

Kerry said several local retirement communities have already signed up to participate, kids are responding and she’s even heard from some adults who want to help.

To get involved, or for more information, contact Kerry at 604-312-2530 or erica@discoverrenewedliving.com



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

SeniorsSurreyWhite Rock

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey’s Darts Hill Garden Park to re-open – by appointment

City of Surrey-run garden will be open to visitors Thursday through Saturday

Video tribute to KPU’s spring grad class also honours Andrew Petter, Bill Wright

‘We still want to celebrate our graduates, their achievements, and their resilience’

Surrey baseball association loses ‘a true giant’ in Bruce Lawson

Longtime volunteer ‘always gave his heart and soul to Surrey Canadian and the game of baseball’

Surrey School District forecasts up to 30 per cent of students will return to class this week

Education Minister Rob Fleming said on June 1, about 60,000 B.C. children returned to school

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Bateman program encourages people to sketch outside, connect with nature

#MyNatureSketch initiative encourages Canadians to become ‘bright-eyed three year olds’

Be cautious expanding COVID-19 bubble, Dr. Bonnie Henry tells B.C.

Senior homes stay off-limits as schools, businesses reopen

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Most Read

l -->