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Some central Minnesota seniors are searching for pen pals

With residents in long-term care facilities and nursing homes not being able to have visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic, many have invited community members to become pen pals with residents.

Leroy Keppers Meadows Pen Pal.jpg
The Meadows of Wadena has joined the posts of retirement and assisted living facilities' residents searching for pen pals. Leroy Keppers' sign says he likes sleeping, John Deere tractors, Ford cars, pizza and diet Pepsi. Photo courtesy of The Meadows of Wadena
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WADENA, Minn. — “We need to do that with our residents,” was Carrie Ament’s thought after seeing a post in another state about a request for pen pals. As the activities director for the Meadows of Wadena, Ament asked residents about their interest and four joined the search for a pen pal.

“It just keeps them social with knowing what other people are going through and having someone to connect with that isn’t staff because our visitation and everything is limited right now,” said Tami Mench, director of resident services/housing manager. “This just gives them something also to do.”

People, including teachers at Sebeka and Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools, commented on their excitement and plans for students writing to residents from school.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Ament and Mench said their goal has been to keep residents social and active with other residents while following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Minnesota Department of Health requirements. Ament does Bingo, painting and a big crossword puzzle with everyone spaced 6-feet apart and wearing masks.

Parking lot concerts are also a great joy and residents can eat in the dining room for lunch three times a week, according to Mench and Ament. Residents visit with family members through windows with chairs and umbrellas available for those outside.

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With the new additions of games, painting and pen pals, Ament said she thinks residents will enjoy them.

“Our residents are very interested and can’t wait to get their letters,” Mench said.

Write a letter

Check The Meadows of Wadena Facebook page for the residents' pen pal information. Letters can be mailed to: 110 Hemlock Ave NW, Wadena, MN 56482. Make sure to include “Pen Pal” on the envelope. For more information, call the Meadows at 218-632-3610.

Related Topics: WADENA
Rebecca Mitchell is a Multimedia Reporter for the Wadena Pioneer Journal and Perham Focus. She loves capturing local stories through words, photos and videos, and providing resources for the community.
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