Paulina Pergoł is a first year MA student at the Medical University of Warsaw.
Her idea – “Letters to a Friend” – consists of maintaining a regular exchange of correspondence between people living in social welfare homes or homes for peaceful aging.
“Research shows that up to 20% of people over the age of 65 feel very alone and have no one to talk to about everyday life, not to mention the good old days. I would like to create a letter service where volunteers could exchange letters with elderly residents of different types of nursing homes. In the beginning, any person who wants to write such a letter to an older person (the person’s age, his / her social status etc. does not matter) should write a letter where they can tell about, for example, things they do every day or maybe about their children and family. To make it easier to start the correspondence, there would be questions for the elderly at the end of the letter, for example: “What did you work with earlier? What dreams do you have?” At the end of each letter there would be a positive message. Such letters would be delivered to and received from seniors every two weeks.
Such correspondence helps the elderly to escape the feeling of loneliness . They would then be happy to wait for the next letter from their “pen pal.” At the same time, their intellect and memory would be stimulated. I am well aware that some older people cannot write or read, so in my concept there would also be volunteers who would not only help with writing the letters, but also read them for the elderly. Older people should have access to good care and the best possible quality of life. I would like to promote lifestyle medicine to retirees because I believe it is the lifestyle that has the greatest impact on our health and quality of life.”