June 1, 2021 -- From her home at Regents Point, Bea Baker has fought the doldrums of the past 15 months with the help of Julian, a local 11-year-old. For more than a year, the pen pals have nurtured an unlikely friendship through 40-plus letters focused on family, pets and shared admiration.
“He tells me what’s going on in his life and what he’s been doing,” said 89-year-old Baker, who added Julian often sends her artwork, recent school results, and photos of his dog and cat, who is coincidentally named Bea.
In January 2020, Baker lost her husband, Carl, of nearly 70 years. After years of being Carl’s caregiver, Bea was at a crossroads.
“After my husband passed away, it was extremely difficult being in the apartment alone,” she said. “I started visiting residents in skilled nursing at Regents Point every day, sometimes morning and afternoon.”
Then, just weeks later, the pandemic hit. Daily visits to the health center were replaced by personalized monthly letters to each resident. Soon, she was approached about also writing to a local student and was paired with Julian.
“I can tell he’s been brought up very, very well,” Baker chuckled.
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Regents Point in Irvine, California, is owned and managed by HumanGood, a nonprofit public benefit corporation serving older adults since 1949. State of California License #300603257, DHS License #060000055, Certificate of Authority #300.