Part of being a good neighbor is helping those that live around us. Adults ages 50 and older who have never been married are three times more likely to never get married, leaving around 14.7 million elderly people living alone in the United States. Lending a helping hand to your senior neighbor makes them feel like they are family. For those who are alone, that can be a source of comfort.
Whether you're new to the neighborhood or you are a new senior neighbor, it's good to go over and introduce yourself. If they live alone, offer them your contact information in the event of an emergency or need assistance if there is someone nearby. Having their contact number is good practice as well. On days when there may be extreme weather, you notice that they are not following their typical routine or any other concerns. Giving them a quick call to check on them is an unobtrusive way to see if they need help.
Lend a Helping Hand
Depending on where you live, outdoor work can pose a problem for senior residents. If you live in areas with winter conditions, shoving snow can pose a risk to elderly individuals. Slips and falls on the ice can cause serious injury, including broken bones. Shoveling itself is a cumbersome task and as we age, it gets harder to get up and clear the driveway. Lending a hand in the wintertime and shoveling your senior neighbor's driveway while you're out doing your own can be of immense help. During the summer, offering to help with their lawn care such as mowing or weeding can provide assistance as well. Depending on the size of their property, it may be too large to regularly maintain.
Lending a hand can be as simple as bringing packages to them. It's no secret, online shopping, the expanded delivery of medication, and other essential items have a large market with around 13 billion parcels being shipped in 2018.
Be Clear About What You Are Available For
While your neighbor may become accustomed to having you there to lend a helping hand, it is important to be upfront about what you are able to do. There are some areas in which you may not feel comfortable or unqualified to do. When looking at assisted living, around 40% of residents require help with three or more daily living activities. For areas that you are not comfortable with, suggesting that they contact a family member if possible is not out of line. In the event of an emergency where you do not have the proper training, 911 should be your go-to response.
Just Be Friendly
Living alone can make you feel isolated. Saying hello and having conversations when you go on your daily dog walk can make someone feel cared for. You can offer to invite them over for refreshments on the porch or to join you on a daily walk. If you have a lot of seniors living in your neighborhood, you can organize something that everyone can do together. This could be something like an organized walk with everyone once or twice a week, a book club, or start a knitting club.
Whatever it is that you decide to do, being open and kind can be some of the best assistance that you can provide. Keep an eye out when you are in your yard, to see if it looks like your yard needs any work done. Remember though not to overstep your boundaries, you want to be helpful, not overbearing.