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Glens Falls native aims to ease loneliness of nursing home residents kept from loved ones by pandemic

Mark Mulholland
Updated: July 22, 2020 08:29 PM
Created: July 22, 2020 05:48 PM

The bond between Rachel Bennett and her mother wasn't broken by Alzheimer's Disease.

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Shaunna Bennett was just 57-years-old when she was diagnosed at Albany Med in 2008.

As her health declined, she spent the final six years of her life in nursing homes, with near daily visits from her only daughter.

"I watched my mother live and decline in a multitude of nursing homes," Rachel said.

When she couldn't be there, and even when she could, she'd send her mom cards to brighten her days.

So as the pandemic forced nursing homes to keep loved ones out and residents in, Bennett immediately thought of how much her mom loved cards.

"Kept reading articles about the unbearable loneliness that people living in nursing homes are facing," she said.

"I just couldn't turn my back. I thought of my mother and I said, 'You know what, we have to reach out to these people and let them know they're not alone' and that's when I said 'I'm going to start the Nursing Home Card Project.'"

She set up a website, CaringbyCard.com, encouraging people around the world to send cards to those who could really use a lift.

"It's my hope that these people realize that they are not forgotten, we love them, we see them, and frankly one day we will be them."

Rachel graduated from Glens Falls High School in 1996 and credits her mother, who was a college professor, for teaching her empathy and kindness.

"I hope that she's proud of me. I'm trying to do what she taught me."

MORE INFORMATION: Nursing Home Card Project


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