Have you ever said "I've got to go get the mail!"? Going to a mailbox has been a customary routine for many residents of long term care communities. A mailbox triggers memories and anticipation of receiving a letter or card. This program uses a regular mailbox that has been modified to "roll" through hallways. It is used to deliver special wishes, cards, or invitations to the residents. It can be decorated, much like a cart, for special occasions and holidays.
Construct a "mailbox on wheels" by securing the base to a rolling platform. The maintenance departments have been used and boy scout service projects. (see picture)
Move the mailbox throughout the community for special occasions such as delivering notes from kids, letters from volunteers, or holiday cards. It is important to include every resident in the distribution of "mail."
Volunteer groups and staff can adopt a resident and "secret pal" messages can be delivered. Training should be provided regarding the size and type of font (Arial, Verdana, Tahoma and Sans Serif) , whether to be handwritten or typed, appropriate messages of inspiration and connection and confidentiality of resident names. These can be generic messages to a "woman who likes cats." The link below provides additional information for free downloadable fonts.
Envelopes should not be sealed so that messages can be reviewed if necessary.
Letters or cards coming from community groups should be held for 3 days or follow the specific guidelines of your community prior to distribution.
When not is use, the mailbox can be placed in the activity department office or reception office to collect outgoing mail from residents.
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Maintenance departments, hardware or home supply stores, shop classes at local schools or boy scout troops can be used to construct the mailbox on wheels.