Commentary: Five ways to help your homebound senior neighbor
By Jody McCardle
She hardly ever comes out. In fact, you see so little of your senior neighbor, you sometimes forget she’s there.
But the quiet life that so often escapes your notice can mask many problems. A fear of falling might keep your neighbor from going to her doctor appointments or buying groceries. Worsening arthritis may keep her from caring for her home, or herself.
Luckily, there are organizations that can help her remain safe and joyful in her own home. And she can start getting help simply because someone like you was neighborly.
If you live near someone who is in his or her golden years, has slowed down and appears homebound, make yourself known. Break the isolation. Here are a few ideas:
- Offer help. Once the introductions are out of the way, let your neighbor know you can help with yard work and snow shoveling. Many times, people can be reluctant to accept assistance from others. One way to get around this: Tell your neighbor that you (or your older children) have some volunteer requirements to fulfill.
- Run an errand. Before you get into the car and drive to the store, ring the doorbell. Ask if there is anything you can pick up for your neighbor.
- Share the bounty. When cooking a meal, bring a serving to your neighbor’s house. Share fresh vegetables from the garden or the farmers market. Bring a sample of something you baked.
- Set up a neighbor date. Invite your neighbor over for dinner, Sunday brunch or afternoon coffee. If conversation runs dry, some quiet activities can help pass the time, such as playing checkers or cards, putting together a jigsaw puzzle or watching a movie.
- Help your neighbor get in touch with the Como Park-Falcon Heights Block Nurse Program, a nonprofit that connects seniors with volunteers from your neighborhood who can take them to their appointments, help them with shopping or just keep them company. We also have a nurse on staff who makes home visits at no cost to the senior. In addition, we can provide staff and volunteer support to enable seniors to remain in the home and community they love.
To learn more, visit our website, comobnp.org, or give us a call, 651-642-1127, and like us on Facebook to stay updated on our program. Donations welcome.
Jody McCardle is the executive director of the Como Park-Falcon Heights Living at Home Block Nurse Program.