While Jeannette Miller doesn’t mind being at home, the senior citizen never imagined she would be unable to leave for so long.
“I haven’t left the house for 8 weeks, only to go to have my flu injection and then my grandson drove me around for a little bit,” Ms. Miller said.
“That’s the only time I have been out of the house though.”
And as the president of her local social club, Ms Miller is missing her usual catch-ups.
“We usually celebrate all the special days through the year like Australia Day, ANZAC day and Mother’s Day...But we’ve decided to sort-of close the social club down until after Christmas and we’ll have to see what happens even then.”
“I’ve got plenty to do. I knit and I crochet and I cook and I colour-in but it’s been a long time since I’ve had any visitors.”
“It’s very quiet.”
Just when Ms Miller started noticing her feelings of loneliness, she received an unexpected delivery in her mailbox, a handmade card filled with drawings.
“There was a card with a little letter and there was a little boy, I think his name was Grant, and he has drawn a picture and a couple of things inside it,” Ms Miller said.
“He put four little hearts and then a big heart in the middle. He’s got two little hands around the heart and underneath that he’s got a tree and he’s got love is grand.
“Up the top it said, I love you too.”
The letter was part of Be Someone For Someone’s 1,000 Notes of Friendship initiative, a campaign calling Australian’s to post heartfelt messages that are then passed on to seniors isolated by lockdown restrictions, disability, geographic location, lack of transport, or lack of social confidence.
During a time of unprecedented isolation, Ms Miller said the surprise arrival was all it took to remind her that she wasn’t alone.
“I didn’t know it was coming, it was a really big surprise, and to be from a little boy like that, it was lovely and it now takes pride of place on my lounge room table.”
“It really bucked me up a lot when I got it, it was nice to know someone cares.”
Be Someone For Someone was started by Feros Care in response to the alarming statistic that one-in-four Australians feel lonely, and the simple act of putting pen to paper is going a long way towards tackling that epidemic.
Since launching the 1,000 Notes of Friendship campaign last month, more than 600 notes have been delivered to seniors across the country.
“Writing a letter is a simple way to show support during this challenging period,“ Head of Be Someone For Someone, Jo Winwood said. “So many people were asking us how they could help or what they could do and we knew this would be one way people could connect and make others feel less alone."
“We initially set out to reach 1,000 seniors who were most likely to be vulnerable or isolated, but the wonderful feedback from the writers and the seniors tells us that there is real need for the program on an ongoing basis, COVID or no COVID.
“We are on a mission to connect with as many seniors as possible and with the support of the community, we can make that happen.
To get involved, simply write a note, letter, or card of friendship and return it to:
1,000 Notes of Friendship Campaign
PO Box 585
Be Someone For Someone will personalise your letter and deliver it to an otherwise isolated senior.