If you have an elderly neighbor, investing a little of your time in helping them if they need something could really make their lives easier. If you are not very familiar with your neighbor, introduce yourself and make yourself friendly and approachable. The easiest thing you can do is ask nicely if they need anything. Some seniors are very capable so be careful not to be condescending, but inform them that your help is available should they need it. Here are a few ideas on how to help elderly neighbors, and things you can do for them year round. No matter if it’s help around the house, running errands or just chatting, every effort on your part can go a long way. Not to mention that you will be feeling good afterward yourself.
Keeping Them Company
Some elderly people live away from their families, so their family members aren’t able to visit that often. That can lead to loneliness and isolation. So, go talk to that elderly next door neighbor.
That’s a situation where a friendly chat can make a big difference. Whether you decide to pay them a visit or talk to them when you meet them on the street, they will feel much better if they have someone to exchange a few words with. Be sure to pay attention to what they are telling you, and adjust the pace of the conversation if needed.
If you decide to visit, it is better to have a short visit but to do it more often. You could also offer to take a walk with them around your neighborhood. They may want to do that but do not feel safe doing it alone.
Help Around the House
With age come certain difficulties in performing certain chores around the household. Things we didn’t even think about before can become a problem because it’s hard to move, bend down or reach. You can offer to vacuum and mop their floors every once in a while. People with unsteady hands might have problems doing the dishes, so that is another thing where help may be needed.
Besides that, you can perform handy work around the house if you know how – changing the bulbs, shovel snow, unclogging drains, fixing the heat and similar things. Help with anything physically challenging will be greatly appreciated.
Help Around the Yard
If you have a yard, you know there’s always something to do, regardless of the season. Help them in making their yard look nice too. When you are doing chores in your own yard, if you have the time, you can expand the work to their yard also. Physical work is challenging for many elderly people and if they see their yard taken care of it can make them happy.
In springtime, you can pull the weeds and remove any branches that have fallen on the ground. When you have time, mow their lawn. Lawnmowers can be hard to operate and move around for people who have problems with their hands or moving in general.
In autumn, you can help rake leaves from their yard and keep it neat and tidy. Perhaps your help during winter is most needed. Regular removal of snow and ice will increase safety because seniors, in particular, can be seriously injured if they slip and fall. Also, you can make moving around more comfortable for them since many are afraid to go out when there’s snow.
Help with Grocery Shopping and Errands
Senior neighbors often need groceries which they are unable to buy themselves. You can help them make a list of things they need around the house, and buy those things for them the next time you go shopping.
Even better, you can take the elderly person with you, I am sure a trip to the store will improve their mood. While you are in the store, make sure to give them enough time to get everything they need. When you get back, help them unload the groceries too.
Also, you can ask if there are some errands you could run for them. For example, picking up medications from the pharmacist, or delivering their mail to the post office. You can also drive them to their doctor’s appointment when they need it.
Share with Your Neighbor
When you pay older people a visit, it is a nice thing to share something with them. They will feel appreciated and happy and know someone is thinking about them.
If you have a fresh meal at that moment, you can share it with them. Also, you could lend them a book you read recently and think they might enjoy. If they have poor vision, you can offer to read to them sometimes.
You can even recommend things they can do for fun. For example: places seniors go to socialize in your community, a tv show you think they might enjoy, or teaching them new skills. Many seniors have electronic devices they aren’t sure how to use. If they like, teach them how to make and receive calls (including video calls with their family), how to watch a video, play games, listen to books and so on.
Check Up on Them
If you know your neighbor is in poor health, it might be a good idea to check up on them from time to time – at least once a week. A few times a week is even better! See if they have anyone to call when something’s out of order.
If you notice anything unusual it is a good idea to knock on their door and see if they’re feeling okay. This can be especially important during winter time, since elderly people are more sensitive to cold weather and become ill more easily if they are cold at home.
There are simple things we do every day and don’t even think about it, while another person may have big problems doing the same things which affects their quality of life. Everyone can do something nice to help a neighbor out, especially elderly neighbors. These actions make people feel valued and included. Not just that, they also feel safer and more comfortable because they know they’re not alone. It’s not hard to be nice!