We are so lucky to have a Village Program in our neighborhood that not only celebrates having elders in community, but makes sure they are supported and cared for as their needs evolve into their older years. For our members, we are checking in to make sure they have the supplies they need in case they need to stay at home, and are connected to community in a time where isolation can be lonely and scary.
A majority of our neighborhood seniors are not connected to the village, and may be in real need of a helpful neighbor in a time like this. Here are a few tips to make sure elders in our neighborhoods are connected and taken care of.
Identify who on your block might be isolated and at risk, and reach out. If you are unsure, ask other neighbors on your block if they have identified anyone. While knocking on doors right now is probably not advisable, you could write your elder neighbor a note (after washing your hands) and give them your phone number to reach out in case they need something.
Establish a network of helpers on your block. If you are concerned about being solely responsible for helping your neighbor, establish a support network on your block. Find out who on your block is available to help and connect your older neighbor to those who can assist. If you have a block captain, they can help you connect with your neighbors. If you don’t have a block captain, now’s a great time to identify someone who is willing to put together a block roster and disseminate information.
Simple tasks and gestures go a long way. Just receiving a note and knowing that a neighbor is there will go a long way in reassuring someone who is feeling isolated. Below are a few other things that could be immensely helpful yet easy to do:
- Regular check-in calls. This could be done by one or more neighbors every few days.
- Order them supplies or groceries online as they may not have internet access. If they are worried about receiving deliveries, you could have them delivered to you and then walk them over.
- If someone on the block is going on a grocery run, maybe they could pick up a few extra staples.
- If everyone is feeling healthy, offer to go on a walk or sit on the porch to get some fresh air.
If you feel called to help during this time, the PNA Village is always recruiting volunteers to help support our neighborhood elders. For more information visit www.phinneycenter.org/village