Capital Health Care NetworkBeing a Good Neighbor to the Elderly
“All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each one of us has something valuable to bring to this world. That’s one of the things that connects us as neighbors–in our own way, each one of us is a giver and a receiver.” – Fred Rogers
Mr. Rogers taught us a great deal about what it means to be a good neighbor. Please consider being a good neighbor to the seniors and elderly folks that reside in your neighborhood. Too many seniors live out their golden years in need of attention and assistance. Some seniors face deteriorating health, loneliness, boredom, isolation, fear, depression, malnutrition, and an array of other challenges. Being a good neighbor can help.
The trick is to stay vigilant without being intrusive. While you don’t want to be a pesky neighbor, you might find it necessary to offer to help instead of waiting on your elderly neighbor to ask for help. It isn’t easy for anyone to ask for help and that is especially true for proud seniors who are used to being self-sufficient.
Being a good neighbor is about building and sustaining relationships we can depend on and trust when a need arises. It simply requires a willingness to get involved and a commitment to practice kindness.
Five Ways to Be a Good Neighbor to the Elderly
1. Gather and Offer Contact Information. Ask your elderly neighbor for his or her phone number and maybe even the phone number of their closest friend or family member in the event of an emergency. It would also be nice to offer your own number.
2. Offer to Help Instead of Waiting to Be Asked. It isn’t easy for anyone to ask for help and that is especially true for seniors who are used to being self-sufficient. If you can help, offer to and reassure your neighbor that helping is not a burden.
3. Set Boundaries. Your kindness and willingness to get involved can be an extra layer of safety and socialization for your neighbor, but you are not solely responsible for your neighbor’s well-being or happiness.
4. Check on Them During Inclement Weather. It makes sense to check on them before and after storms or during extended periods of harsh weather. Family and friends may be too far removed to address immediate concerns.
5. Share a Meal. There is something very special about eating together. Consider inviting your neighbor over for a meal or deliver a meal to their home. Choosing to share a meal with your neighbor is sure to help foster camaraderie and build friendship.