The Benefits of Pen Pals for Seniors

Pen pal schemes provide a great opportunity for seniors to strike up a friendship with someone they haven’t met before. By doing so, they can build a strong relationship with their companion through shared stories, memories and hobbies. 

Establishing this kind of connection can help combat social isolation and loneliness amongst the elderly, improving their mental health and well-being. This article will take a look at the different benefits of pen pals for seniors, along with suggested content for the letters and how to sign up.

What are the benefits of pen pals for seniors?

With the technical age we live in, pen pals might seem a somewhat antiquated concept. However, this is far from the case – in fact, many people comment that writing letters allows them to express themselves more effectively than other forms of communication, and this is particularly true amongst the elderly. 

Some of its benefits for seniors include:

  • It provides a great chance for the elderly to socialise, particularly the more introverted
  • It’s an ideal form of communication for seniors who are hard of hearing
  • It allows the elderly to learn from someone else’s life experiences, which can broaden their perspective, build empathy and even inspire them to take up a new hobby
  • It stimulates the brain as it requires seniors to choose the most suitable words they want to use and organise their thoughts, whether they are writing by hand themselves or with the help of a family member/carer

What should you write about in your letters to a pen pal?

When writing to a pen pal, it’s important to make sure the letter flows naturally with a conversational style – this can be achieved by asking open-ended questions and writing as you speak. That said, try to avoid using overly colloquial language, as this may be unfamiliar to the recipient and might confuse them. Make sure you keep a positive tone and avoid any information that is personal or sensitive, such as bank details. 

Suggested talking points for your letters can be:

  • Hobbies you are interested in
  • Books you like reading
  • Films and TV shows you enjoy watching
  • Any future life plans on the horizon

Sharing stories and experiences is important, as it can help trigger memories for those living with dementia and test parts of their brain that they might not otherwise use.

How can you sign up to a pen pal scheme?

If you are feeling inspired and would like to sign up to a pen pal scheme in the UK, there are several different ones available, including Omega, Home Instead, The Write Partnership and the SCCCC.

This isn’t limited to the UK, however – there are other popular online pen pal services that can connect people across the globe, including Global Pen Friends and PenPal World.

Just remember: when you have finished your letter and sent it off, make sure you request a letter in return, and be patient for a reply as there is no predetermined frequency and seniors might take longer to compose their response.

At Bondcare, we encourage our residents to participate in a wide range of activities to help build friendships and keep their minds and bodies active. With care homes across the UK, you can find a Bondcare home near to you – you are not limited by location. To find out more, contact our experienced team today.