The coronavirus pandemic has kept would-be visitors from assisted living facilities across North Carolina. But Victorian Senior Care, which operates 14 facilities in the state, has taken matters into its own hands.
The Asheboro-based care company posted on Facebook seeking pen pals for its residents in Cary, just outside Raleigh, to help quell the solitude. The post has garnered more than 32,000 shares. Now Victorian Senior Care is adding dozens more pictures of residents at other facilities holding up posters with their interests to find like-minded pen pals.
“It has been mentally straining on them not to see family members and loved ones,” Meredith Seals, the chief operating officer of Victorian Senior Care, told CNN. “When you are used to having family there every day and then you can’t, it’s very lonely for them.”
The care company’s facilities range in function — from independent and assisted living to respite services, according to its website. None have reported any COVID-19 cases, Seals told CNN.
For anyone looking to send a letter or care package, the residents’ interests vary widely.
Marie in Concord is “just an every day girl” looking for some correspondence. Rosa, also in Concord, just wants everyone to have a blessed day — and for you to be her pen pal. Macy in Red Springs is a checkers champion. Teresa in Archdale is interested in hearing about tattoos. Mike, also in Archdale, is not afraid to be blunt: “I like women.”
“Quiet and thoughtful” Fred in Concord likes gardening. Saundra in Red Springs likes Avon cosmetics. Ms. Delorse in Kinston is into adult coloring. Roger is searching for some fellow gamblers — “anyone out there from Vegas?”
The mail has poured in, Victorian Senior Care said in follow-up posts showing residents posing with packages.
Local Boy Scouts even had to help them sort through it in Cary, according to one post.
“We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support not just from our own state or country but from all around the world!” the care center said Monday. “Our residents are truly the reason we do what we do and seeing the excitement and smiles on their faces make our day.”
Any residents who haven’t received mail after the first round of deliveries will have their picture reposted, Victorian Senior Care said. For those having trouble “picking a resident,” the center asked that letters be addressed to its facility in Randleman.
“We will match your letter based on the needs of each community and resident,” the care center said.