While children are at home and aged care residents are in lockdown, Wimmera Health Care Group has organised a 'pen pal' program to connect both generations during the pandemic.
Wimmera Health Care Group's Kindness With a Pen program encourages children to send letters and drawings to residents at Horsham's Wimmera Nursing Home and Kurrajong Lodge, and the Dimboola Nursing Home .
The three aged care facilities have been in lockdown since March 22 to protect residents from the coronavirus outbreak.
Leisure and lifestyle team leader Danielle Bell said it was important for residents to stay connected with the community so they didn't feel lonely or socially isolated.
"Aged care residents are used to having family, friends, children and entertainment groups visit, " she said.
"Two of the most welcomed visitors in nursing homes are children and pets."
Mrs Bell said the program was also a great activity to keep children entertained while in isolation during school holidays.
On Monday residents received the first round of letters and Mrs Bell said there were lots of smiles.
"It's the simple things in life like a letter with a kind word or a picture that can brighten someones day," she said.
"We are also encouraging children to include their address so they can receive a letter back."
Mrs Bell said she was overwhelmed by the response when she posted about the program on Facebook - in under 24 hours the post reached more than 12,000 people.
"Aged cared residencies in the Central Grampians and Ararat asked if they can adopt a similar program because they loved the idea so much," she said.
The World Health Organisation advised that it was safe to receive letters or packages - from previous analysis coronaviruses do not survive long on objects such as mailed items.
The federal Department of Health also stated in its guidelines that this was a safe way to promote social engagement.
Mrs Bell is also hopeful there is a large enough number of letters so they can be shared with the Community Options program at Wimmera Health Care Group, which assists 350 people living at home.
"Looking towards the future I hope when we overcome the pandemic the children and residents can meet and have morning tea together," she said.
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