Letters of love: South Coast students help boost social connection during COVID-19

on the Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Heartfelt letters from 15 classes at Gerringong Public School have helped to bring joy to residents of Uniting Gerringong aged care home at a time of community restrictions during COVID-19.

Prior to the pandemic, 30 students from Gerringong Public School from K-6 would visit Uniting Gerringong aged care residents every fortnight.

Though the students have been unable to visit recently, the school has refused to let the pandemic get in the way of the pupils forming bonds with older members of the community.

To solve this problem, the students started writing to their older friends to connect and make sure they are safe.

Uniting Gerringong Leisure and Wellness Coordinator Margaret Darling said, "I'm so impressed the Gerringong Public School students realise the impact a simple gesture like a letter can have on our residents."

"Some residents don't receive much correspondence, and this is especially true during COVID-19.

"It is equally wonderful when our team members receive messages of thanks from families. Aged care workers have been on the frontline of the pandemic in Australia, and it  is important that we acknowledge aged care workers as the unsung heroes of the pandemic.

"These letters say to the residents: I notice you. I respect you. I care about you. It can just make such a huge difference in their day."

The residents and team members of Uniting Gerringong were touched by the letters they received and wanted to write back to them to express their gratitude.

One student wrote, "I hope that you are safe and well during these difficult times. Although I am unable to visit, please know that I am thinking of you in my heart"

One resident responding to the letter wrote, "It was lovely to receive your letter, I would like you to know that we are being well looked after and enjoying the experience and will be very happy to tell our family what we have been doing. Thank you for all your kindness."

"To feel the whole community's love for our residents and everyone at the home was really heart­ warming" Margaret said.

"The residents are really looking forward to the end of the pandemic so they can see the beaming smiles of the students once again."

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