Staff support seniors in isolation

April 19, 2021

When the Community Relations Team in Southwest Minnesota invited staff to write cards and notes to support seniors who are in isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleagues came through in a big way.

In just two weeks, staff in Fairmont, Mankato, New Prague, St. James and Waseca, Minnesota, wrote more than 400 personalized cards, which were added to senior isolation kits. And that wasn’t all.

“We received homemade cards, paintings, recipes, pictures of sunsets, heartfelt notes and so much more,” says Heather Tietz, Community Relations, who helped organize the project.

The kits, which are distributed by Mayo’s community partners, such as Meals on Wheels and Public Health Homemakers, include a variety of items to keep seniors active and connected. They’ll receive exercise bands and guides, puzzle books, a gratitude magnet, healthy snack recipes, a pack of notes and greeting cards, a journal and educational materials on community resources, among other things.

“These kits provide a way for us to address mental health in our community during the pandemic which is one of our three key Community Health Needs Assessment priorities,” says Tietz.

The feedback from seniors has been tremendous. Tietz shared her favorite response from a recent survey among seniors who received an isolation kit:

“Love, love, love cards and stamps. We send out lots, and this helps. It’s expensive. Personal note from young mom of 18-month-old (Mayo Clinic Health System staff member) was touching. Baby’s art is on our fridge. Bless you for thinking of us, Mayo Clinic,” one senior said.

And the joy was likely felt on both sides.

“Some staff even involved their kids in this project. After a year like we’ve had, these cards brought joy not only to those receiving them, but I’m certain to the staff who created them, as well,” Tietz says.