Those with elderly loved ones know that the process of aging can have an emotional and mental impact on someone’s life, in addition to potential physical challenges. A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) shares that more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older report feeling lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are now considered to be socially isolated. One way younger people can help the aging population to overcome these feelings is by sending them a personalized letter through the organization Love For Our Elders.
Founded in 2013 by Yale University student Jacob Cramer, Love For Our Elders was inspired by his endless love for his grandparents. Cramer recalls his wonderful memories of his grandparents, and when his grandfather passed he began volunteering at a local seniors living community to honor him. Some of the community residents would share with Cramer that he was their only visitor.
Inspired to do more to support the elderly community, he started writing handwritten letters of love to his new senior friends. Since then, he’s been on a mission to alleviate a growing loneliness epidemic, and has inspired others to join in his efforts to deliver letters to the elderly. To date, he has worked with over 50,000 volunteers across 70 countries to spread his mission and “fight loneliness with love.”
Write a letter to an elder at https://t.co/LHbNgPYO54 💌 pic.twitter.com/OOiowMIvuy
Write a letter to an elder at https://t.co/LHbNgPYO54 💌 pic.twitter.com/OOiowMIvuy— Love For Our Elders (@love4ourelders) March 12, 2021
Cramer’s mission has become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic as many elderly people have faced increased isolation and loneliness. While physical isolation has been an important element of public health and safety, he says that the community must remember that elders deserve to continue to feel supported. Now more than ever, Love For Our Elders is in need of additional volunteers who are willing and able to craft handwritten letters. (Emailed and typed letters are not accepted.)
To participate in this initiative, volunteers must write their letters in large, legible print, exclude the date and avoid directly referencing religion, COVID-19, isolation or quarantine. The letters should also embrace creativity, be kind and thoughtful and be sealed within an envelope. Those sending more than one letter should leave their envelopes unsealed and unstamped within a larger envelope or box. The organization will be responsible for sorting and bundling letters with others to mail to senior community partners. All letters should be mailed to:
Love For Our Elders
P.O. Box 24248
Cleveland, OH 44124, USA
Moving forward, Love For Our Elders has begun to consider what the organization’s work will look like in a post-COVID-19 world. Therefore, the organization is hoping to build a diverse board of passionate individuals who will share the initiative’s work and convene at least once a year via Zoom. This meeting will be used to reflect on the year’s work and consider possible changes to public branding, website and organizational status. The deadline to apply to join this board is April 15, 2021. Questions can be sent to Jacob Cramer, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.