WINCHESTER (CBS) – At nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the state, many residents are lonelier and more isolated than normal, because visitors are not allowed. The rules are for their own safety during the coronavirus crisis.

A Winchester teen is helping some of those seniors feel more connected to the community.

Ben Burns created a program he calls GenLynk, pairing teens and other volunteers with residents of the Aberjona Nursing and Rehab Center.

He matches the volunteers with residents and then they schedule a visit, either by phone or a virtual meeting platform like Facetime or Zoom.

Burns originally posted the idea last week on his town Facebook page. The response was positive – and immediate.

“Already I have 60 community members signed up, which is really amazing because it’s only been a week. I’ve been blown away by the response,” he said.

The next step – Ben is reaching out to other communities in an effort to help seniors in other towns who may feel isolated.

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