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IT’S OK, BOOMER: WE GOT YOU

Young adults show their support for seniors during the pandemic

While the pandemic has been rough on many of us in terms of schedules and socialization, it has been especially hard on older populations given their increased isolation and heightened health risk. Although “OK, Boomer” signified rough relations between older and younger generations as recently as last November, Millennials and Gen Zs are lately stepping up to serve the elderly in this vulnerable time. Whether it’s delivering their groceries, doing their laundry, watching movies together, or corresponding via handwritten letters, young adults are making sure that seniors don’t feel alone or forgotten.

PEN PAL PROGRAM

Get out your stationery! The new pen pal program at the Victorian Senior Care facilities in North Carolina aims to help ease isolation among elderly residents while family and friends can’t visit due to social distancing restrictions. The creative concept connects the public to their residents through good old-fashioned handwritten letters. Each resident was photographed holding a poster describing who they are and their interests, and the heartstring-tugging images were shared on social media. The posts quickly exploded in popularity, garnering international support. (Read the article here for details on how you can also participate in this sweet endeavor.)

LONG DISTANCE MOVIE CLUB

Matt Starr and Ellie Sachs, Millennial artists and filmmakers in New York City, started the Long Distance Movie Club, a virtual movie-watching group for seniors. At the beginning of the pandemic, they partnered with two senior homes for bi-weekly movie showings and discussions. Sachs spoke to how this program has fostered a feeling of community, saying “It feels so special to create these meaningful relationships and I can’t wait to meet all of them IRL one day.”

PDX CONCIERGE

Started by 16-year-old Neel Jain, PDX Concierge is a free shopping and delivery service for seniors based in Oregon. Jain created the local program after delivering groceries for his own grandmother, who is considered high risk, and realizing that there was a growing market of vulnerable and elderly populations eager for this type of service. The process, operated entirely by high school students, is completely contactless: customers just pay for the supplies they order. Students check on customers and also write them handwritten notes, which recipients greatly appreciate.