Cary Senior Center’s Plea for Pen Pals Goes Viral

One of the residents at Phoenix Assisted Care in Cary shows off a letter she received.

Residents at Victorian Senior Care are using social media to get in touch with people the old-fashioned way.

The company’s Cary location, Phoenix Assisted Care, made a Facebook post in June featuring residents asking for pen pals. That post has been shared more than 370,000 times. Thousands of correspondents have responded across America and 36 other countries, including Sweden, Australia, South Korea and Uganda.

The original Facebook post from June 26.

The idea for pen pals came about when administrators wanted a creative way to keep residents connected to others, while adhering to the community’s coronavirus visitor restrictions. Meredith Seals, the COO of Victorian Senior Care, was shocked by the reactions to the post.

“We felt like we might be getting some letters from across the U.S.A., but we definitely did not think that we would be getting this big of a response,” she said. “We were astonished when it started going around the world.”

So far, residents have received 15,000 letters across all 14 facilities. They were thrilled to receive mail and are working on compiling the letters and photos they received from their pen pals in photo albums.

The staff is sharing the comments and messages from social media with the residents, but they encourage paper communications.

“It’s a past time where pen pals used to be very common, we don’t do that as much anymore — electronic seems to be the focus,” Seals said. “We really wanted to take a more simplistic approach to bring together our residents with people from all across the world.”

Due to the coronavirus threat, residents had to get accustomed to not having visitors. Seals thinks the impact of the pen pals is paramount.

“Right now, it is very important for everyone to stay connected,” she said. “Even though we may not be physically connected, it’s important for us to share each other’s thoughts and experiences so that no one is lonely.”

Victorian Senior Care is still accepting letters and requests that people choose a resident to write to. If you can’t decide, write to the main office, and your letter will be matched based on the needs of each resident and community.

Send a letter to:

Victorian Senior Care
4270 Heath Dairy Road
Randleman NC 27317

Attn: VSCPenPals

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