Today’s world is different than it was just a little over a year ago. COVID-19 has made a deep impact on the world, especially on the senior age group. Seniors often find purpose in their golden years by being of service to their communities and neighborhoods. But the coronavirus has put serious restrictions on what is physically safe for the older population and limits the amount of social interaction this group has.
Limited social interaction isn’t great for any person, but it is particularly hard on seniors. Social interaction is a major factor in the quality of life of elderly people. Without it, seniors are more likely to feel lonely and depressed – which will negatively impact physical health. Loneliness and depression are often followed by reduced physical exercise, poor nutrition, poor habits and more.
1. How Neighbors Impact the Lives of Seniors
Neighbors of seniors can play a crucial role in the health and well-being of seniors in more ways than one. Here are just a few ways that seniors can support themselves by building and establishing relationships with the people in their neighborhoods.
2. Get Some Help – Seniors are often traveling to visit family. But traveling restrictions and warnings have made it difficult for that to happen. While many people are relying on technology to allow them to see their loved ones, not all seniors have an understanding of how to make it work. Nearby neighbors are a great resource to call on when seniors need help with something technical or difficult.
3. Getting Errands – While COVID-19 is still a health risk, seniors may not want to venture far from their homes. Neighbors can be a valuable resource when it comes to running errands. If a neighbor is going out to the store, seniors might ask that they run by the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions. There is ongoing support in the community for seniors who extend the invitation to help.
4. Stay Safe – Enrolling neighbors for support can help seniors if an emergency arises. If a senior has a fall or an accident, neighbors are close enough to help quickly. Put neighbors on speed-dial or list them as emergency contacts if something should come up.
5. Checking-In –Neighbors are often pretty aware of what is happening in the neighborhood. They see their neighbors out walking the dog at certain times of the night, they know that their next-door neighbors are always out at 8 am on Sunday for church. When senior’s routines change, this can be a red flag that something is wrong. Asking neighbors to be on the lookout for strange activity can be life-saving.
6. Companionship – Even in the COVID era, companionship cannot be destroyed. Neighbors can easily stay 6 feet apart and still have good conversations and connect. This is a mega role in the lives of seniors and can make a huge impact on the overall well-being and health of an older individual. For example, seniors can take walks with the neighbor walking the dog and get some exercise and companionship at the same time.
Seniors can boost their support system, social life, and overall quality of life by simply making friends with the people in their neighborhood and asking for a bit of assistance. Seniors’ priorities should be their own safety and well-being and getting to know the neighbors in your area is a simple and rewarding way to do that.