Tuesday, May 5, 2020

All the lonely people in group homes—and one guy you could help

I saw a neighbor of mine the other day. Her niece lives in a local group home, and I asked how she was doing. Her parents weren't allowed to visit, which was tough. "But the people there are like family to her, so she's doing OK," my neighbor said.

That was good to hear, especially because of a message I recently received from a lawyer friend who works with families of people with disabilities. She'd shared a message a mom had put in a group chat asking  people to send her son a note, who has intellectual disability and who lives in a group home. "He loves bowling, vacations, eating out, Dave and Busters, cats and dogs, space, Star Wars, SpongeBob and Ninja Turtles," the mom said. "I have been unable to see him the last few weeks and I think it may be a bit longer."

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about developmentally disabled people in group homes in New York dying from Covid-19 at a far higher rate than the general population. But what's also sweeping through both nursing homes and group homes is loneliness. My lawyer friend noted that parents are being told they can't see their adult children at all, which their children can't understand. Truly heartbreaking.

The Girl Scout troop I lead has written to a local group home and a nursing home. I asked the girls to write a note to this young man. Our family sent one. And now, here I am, asking you to mail him a note—his mom wanted me to share the mailing address, and would truly appreciate any and all notes.

2204 Morse Avenue
Scotch Plains, NJ 07076

It's so simple: Send a note to this guy. Or have your kids write one or draw a picture. While nobody can replace his mom, it will surely help him feel less alone.

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Thanks for sharing!

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