July 2022 Aragon Cares: Love For Our Elders
For this month’s Aragon Cares, the Aragon Research team gathered together to write letters for Love For Our Elders to help combat loneliness and social isolation among older adults. According to the CDC, loneliness and social isolation in older adults is a serious public health risk and can negatively impact their physical and mental health.
Older adults dealing with loneliness and social isolation have a higher risk for dementia and developing serious medical issues. A recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) discovered, “social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death from all causes, a risk that may rival those of smoking, obesity, and physical inactivity.”
Older adults tend to have a higher chance of facing loneliness due to factors such as living alone, loss of family or friends, chronic illnesses, and hearing loss. Unfortunately, the pandemic has increased loneliness and social isolation among seniors because of strict restrictions on visits from family and friends.
Love for Our Elders
Love For Our Elders is an organization working to combat loneliness among older adults through writing letters that show someone is thinking about them. Love For Our Elder was founded in 2013 by Jacob Cramer, a recent Yale graduate and writer for children’s TV and theatre.
After the loss of his grandfather, he began to volunteer at a local senior living community and became friends with residents. After spending time with them, Cramer discovered some residents did not have any visitors or contact with family for months. He wanted to reciprocate the care the residents gave to him by writing letters, which sparked the mission for Love for Our Elders.
Since 2013, more than 50,000 volunteers across 70 countries have joined Love for Our Elders’ mission by sending over 250,000 letters to senior communities. Love For Our Elders also created a storybook of inspiring seniors and facilitated in-person volunteering events. They continued their mission throughout the pandemic by collecting encouraging video messages for older adults and ran education and awareness social media campaigns.
How We Helped
The Aragon Research team gathered all of the essential supplies for letter writing: paper, pens, envelopes, and stamps. We also brought in colored pens, markers, and cute stickers to make the letters fun and vibrant.
After we had all our supplies, we read through the letter requests to pick an elder we wanted to write a letter to. Once everyone had chosen an elder, we began to write our letters.
It had been a very long time since many of us wrote letters by hand! We added some fun touches to our letters by adding colorful drawings and stickers to make the letters exciting and personal.
At the end of our letter writing session, we ended up fulfilling all of the requests and all of the elders had multiple letters to read through to keep them company! We completed the activity by addressing and stamping the letters to send out all our fun letters to their recipients.
How You Can Help
You can join Love for Our Elders’ mission by picking up a pen and paper and writing to a senior in need of love. Every month, Love For Our Elders puts up new letter requests for elders needing company on their ‘Write A Letter’ page. You can write solo or gather your family and friends to send out some letters.
You can also make a monetary donation to Love for Our Elders. Donations help support the foundation by providing grants for materials for high school and college writing chapters, raising public awareness, and hosting their website.