Letter project greets aged care residents in lockdown

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1 Letter 1 Smille alleviates loneliness in the pandemic
1 Letter 1 Smile connects letter-writers with aged care homes in 7 countries.

A French initiative has people typing letters to aged care residents around the world to alleviate loneliness during the pandemic. 

The scheme is called 1 Letter, 1 Smile, and so far 821,890 letters have been exchanged with 1,275 aged care homes in France, Belgium, Switzerland, England, the USA and Canada.

Alienor Duron, 23, founded the scheme with her nine cousins when she heard of the plight of the world’s elderly during lockdown.

“We were hearing all the terrible news about loneliness in care homes and how the lack of love in isolation for an elderly person can really be felt, and we wanted to help,” Miss Duron told Euronews.

“We figured that because we wanted to help, surely other young people would want to help as well.”

“The idea was born for a platform that would allow anyone to send a bit of love in a few clicks.”

Online letters bring “sunshine” to elderly

Contributors can write their letters on the group’s website, which then sends the letters to participating aged care homes.

“We’ve had great feedback,” Miss Duron said.

“We’ve had feedback from people receiving the letters, saying how those letters are rays of sunshine in their daily life. We’ve had feedback from people taking care of the elderly in these retirement homes, telling us how amazing this initiative was for them as well, seeing that they were supported like that.

“And we’ve also had great feedback from the people writing the letters, telling us how just writing letters was something heartwarming for them, because they’re alone.

“Many of those who receive the letters aren’t in a position to respond, but the opportunity for pen-pal friendships to develop is there.”  

Paris and parts of France went into their third lockdown yesterday.

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