LinkAge is a student-led organization founded by Keerthana Pilla and Suhani Arora, two seniors at Tesla STEM High School, that aims to work with senior communities in the Seattle area and connect them to teenagers.
In the 21st century, the generational gap is larger than ever before, and they believe that this gap can be reduced simply through communication. With seniors’ experience-filled stories, along with this generation’s young and creative minds, they are confident that they can knit the two communities closer together and create strong bonds.
Statistically, more than 40% of senior citizens older than 60 regularly experience loneliness and isolation. This feeling of separation and disconnection from others may predict serious health problems and even death. Social isolation in seniors can cause emotional issues like depression and loneliness, as well as physical fallouts such as heart disease and immunodeficiencies. LinkAge believes that they can make a change by reducing these feelings of isolation and improving senior health.
LinkAge envisions working with senior citizens and centers by launching different activities/programs over time.
At the time of this article, everything is planned virtually because of COVID-19, but they would love to expand and hold in-person activities after the pandemic. For their first program, they plan to launch a pen pal program, where teens and seniors would write emails or handwritten letters to each other. For their second program, they plan to launch virtual meetings over Zoom or phone calls, where both the seniors and teens can talk and get to know each other better.
Overall, how the seniors and teenagers want to communicate is up to them and the ultimate goal is to create long lasting relationships!
In addition to the pen pal program, LinkAge hopes to involve younger children as well by getting them to make handmade wellness cards, which will have a small inspirational or positive message and illustration. All the cards will be mailed to a senior center or retirement community, so they can be distributed among the seniors!
How To Get Involved
If you are a senior or teen who is interested in the pen pal program, please apply today! Both seniors and teens can apply through the LinkAge website, which can also be found in the contact section below. The application asks for some personal information and a short paragraph about themselves, to match participants based on their interests.
If you are a senior center or retirement community/facility looking for a new activity or program to engage your seniors in, please contact LinkAge through email or social media. LinkAge will work with you to find a process that is open and flexible, accommodating individual comfort and preferences. They are open to new ideas and activities, so don’t be afraid to share what works best for you.
Article by LinkAge