I have in recent years been writing to relatives/friends in care homes and my letters have given them real pleasure. It all started years ago when I realised how lonely my mother was.
She lived in Scotland and I live the South of England and sometimes when I would ring her she would say ‘the postman didn’t call today’, which made me realise just how important this little bit of daily social interaction was for her – bear in mind that in a village in the Highlands the postman didn’t just drop off the letters he called in and had a little chat.
Subsequently when my mother-in-law in Yorkshire went into a care home I said to her ‘Granny’ we can’t get up to visit you that often but I will write to you every week, which I did do and she loved my letters with all our family and village news.
Her delight she said was that, unlike a visit or a telephone call, which when it was finished was over and done with, a letter you could get out later and enjoy it again. I have to admit that they weren’t handwritten but done on my computer but in a handwriting script.
As I am very much the youngest of both families my own generation are now entering care homes and for the last few years I have been writing letters to a friend, a cousin and a sister-in-law.
To begin with they were just letters like I wrote to mother in law with postcards and other things of interest included, but latterly I turned them into newsletters and downloaded the pictures etc from the internet.
All the families have said how much these newsletters meant to the recipients and our niece has told me that, not only does her mum enjoy them, she has kept them all neatly in a folder, which I have said I might like to have back one day as ‘some years in the life of the Reynolds family’.
Regretfully my friend died earlier in the year and my cousin just before Christmas so I am only doing one newsletter now though I am sure others will come to need them as well. My only hope is that when I end up in a care home someone will write to me. Jean Reynolds, Poole