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Students, nursing home residents become pen pals 

Lawrenceburg third graders, Ridgewood residents

Program created by Lansing (middle)

(LAWRENCEBURG, Ind.) – Lawrenceburg High School graduate Cayla Lansing has come up with a unique idea to bring together two different age groups. 

Lansing, who is completing her capstone project at IUPUI, created a pen pal program between third graders and nursing home residents. 

It brings together students from Central Elementary School as well as the residents of Ridgewood Health Campus. 

Lansing has always been drawn to helping older adults and she came up with the idea as a way to combat loneliness among that age group. 

“I’ve always felt a draw to older adults, and this makes me further appreciate them,” she said. 

It is a six-week program where students and residents are given certain subjects to write about. 

They have written about themselves, their favorite musicians, favorite books, childhood memories, dream vacations, and have also been tasked with describing what friendship means.

“It’s honestly crazy how similar older adults are to children. Even some of their answers are the same, for example, older people love sweets and obviously so do the kids,” she said. 

They also draw pictures including a self-portrait of themselves for their pen pal. 

Both the students and nursing home residents have been asking when they can meet their pen pal. 

Lansing hopes to bring them all together either in-person or by Zoom next month. 

“Even the little kids ask me, ‘Does Dorothy like my cards,’ I really want to meet her,” Lansing said. 

Lansing is working toward her degree in Occupational Therapy at IUPUI.  

She hopes this unique program will inspire others to take time for aging adults. 

‘Take the time and ask them how their day is, or how they’re doing, because it may seem like they’re smiling, but maybe they're not doing okay,” Lansing added.


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