NDSU student encourages volunteer letter writing to ease isolation of elders

NDSU student encourages volunteer letter writing to ease isolation of elders


Allison Bushaw, a first-year pharmacy student at NDSU, heard about a need during the coronavirus pandemic and couldn’t get it out of her mind.

The NDSU College of Health Professions Ambassador learned from a family member working at a local senior living center how difficult the sense of isolation can be when people are unable to see their family in person.

Bushaw sprang into action. The Fargo native contacted her fellow College Ambassadors, who are all learning remotely this semester. “Residents are now quarantined to their rooms and aren’t able to see their friends or families,” Bushaw said. “Some residents aren’t able to call their family without assistance.”

Bushaw provided fellow students with addresses of enrichment directors at senior living centers who thought the effort would be helpful to residents. She also included a useful link with tips on letter writing to elders.

“I reached out to some life enrichment directors at facilities and asked if they would be accepting letters for the residents. They said the residents love letters and it would help brighten their day,” she said.

Dana Davis, director of outreach and community engagement in the College of Health Professions, provides stationery and postage to Health Professions Ambassadors who request supplies. “NDSU students in health professions remain engaged with online classwork, but also show me every day their willingness to help others in different ways,” Davis said.

Bushaw suggests volunteers check with the enrichment director in your local community care facility to ensure that these types of day brighteners are accepted and for any potential restrictions of outside mail. Other suggestions include washing hands, disinfecting desks and pens you use and using a damp cloth to seal envelopes.

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