Since 2013, Jacob Cramer has set out to make seniors smile. He’s the creator of Love For Our Elders, a nonprofit organization that collects handwritten letters from around the world and delivers them to care facilities.
Nineteen-year-old Emma Suttell from Anthem, Arizona, joined the group in 2018 and now serves as their Senior Storybook Editor/Director.
Along with sending letters, the group also posts stories online and collects video messages.
“The whole intention is that these elders will know someone out there in the world, someone cares about them,” Suttell said. “Even if it’s someone they don’t know.”
The letters are a happy memory for Lisa Wawrzyniak. She’s a former activities coordinator for Chaparral Winds Assisted Living and Memory Care in the West Valley.
“I had residents with varying degrees of Alzheimer's,” she said. “They would be so excited, saying, 'yay, it’s pen pal day,' and it would bring so much joy to their lives. It really did, because especially during the pandemic they’re out of touch with the outside world and it really made them feel like they were a part of something.”
The group has designated Feb. 26 as ‘Letter to an Elder Day’. They’re encouraging everyone to hand-write a letter and send it to them. They will send it to a senior facility somewhere in the world.
The organization says they have sent more than 90,000 letters of love to more than 900 facilities across seven countries.
To learn more about how to participate, click here.