In March when our residents were in lock down, due to Coronavirus, it became apparent how students would easily become lonely and isolated in their apartments, away from their family and friends.
One day while scrolling through volunteer jobs, I came across an advert looking for people to write to residents in rest homes. Much like our residents, those in aged care are lonely and suddenly cut off from visitors and family from the outside.
I started to think maybe we could find a way for our residents to connect with those at Juniper Aged Care, just across the road from UniLodge at Curtin University. It was a winning idea as it would benefit our residents by finding a connection as well as enhance their writing skills and help everyone to feel less lonely during an unknown time.
Reaching out to Juniper Aged Care and I was put in touch with Trinity House which accommodates 52 Aged care residents and I spoke to Julie – she loved the idea and agreed that during this time writing, sharing and connecting with others would be so beneficial to everyone’s wellbeing. We discussed how we would drop the letter’s off outside Trinity House every Friday afternoon and we would pick their letter’s up then as well.
Trinity residents were so happy and overwhelmed to receive our letters. Our residents wrote about their home countries, families, growing in different parts of Western Australia and even where they had done placement. I wrote my own letter explaining all about my role at UniLodge at Curtin University - Vickery House and how I volunteer for People of Older Persons and on a weekly basis, even during COVID I help walk their dogs. We all spoke about anything we could think of that would cheer up those at Juniper Care.
For the six weeks UniLodge residents continued to write letters and we were told that those in care also started writing as a way to stay connected.
Even after the semester finished, we still have a handful of residents writing letters. Trinity are still in lockdown with few visitors allowed in, so we are still keeping the letters going and they are read out at various morning teas.
UniLodge at Curtin are hoping to keep the letters going through Semester 2 and we are hopeful that one day we will be able to meet the lovely people at Trinity House and share our stories together.