Aging In Place

2/17/2021 | By Terri L. Jones

I’ve never been a particularly neighborly person. I’ve made small talk with the folks who lived around me, but never much more than that. In my mind, sharing property lines didn’t necessarily mean we’d share anything else like interests or even coffee. However, as my parents age in place, I realize the incredible value of good neighbors.

My mother’s neighbors act like family; they swap cakes and soup, watch her house when she’s away, and even invite her to their children’s recitals like a second grandma. For my dad, who had a stroke two years ago, their neighbors have offered regular support to my stepmom through my father’s recovery. Their neighbor with chickens has brought them fresh eggs, while another neighbor has supplied them with vegetables during the summer and mowed their lawn. Their contractor neighbor has made many house repairs that my dad would’ve normally done. One family with several teenagers has even sent them over to hang out with my father, who has fallen several times, while my stepmother ran errands.

There are countless benefits of good neighbors, but here a few that I’ve observed.

Keep an Eye on Things

For better or worse, neighbors have a bird’s eye view of what’s going on at your house. Often pegged as the “nosy neighbor,” these interested folks can be a godsend if, for example, your car hasn’t moved for days because you’re ill; or you don’t come out to pick up the paper because you’ve fallen. If they see that your routine has changed, they can knock at your door or alert a family member.

Check on You

If your family members can’t reach you, they can call your neighbors and ask them to pop over and make sure all is well. Plus, providing a trusted neighbor with a key ensures someone can get inside your house quickly if no one answers the door.

Provide Support

But neighbors are so much more than just a watchful eye! They can help you unload groceries, walk the dog, shovel snow, pick up a prescription, or even troubleshoot computer problems. They can also simply offer companionship (a porch chat during the pandemic) if you need a friendly ear.

Any time my stepmom has had to call an ambulance for my dad, their rock star neighbors either call or come over to see how they can help. It takes a village to raise a child, but I’m starting to believe that it takes a neighborhood to care for a senior too!

Terri L. Jones

Terri L. Jones has been writing educational and informative topics for the senior industry for over ten years, and is a frequent and longtime contributor to Seniors Guide. She also writes for many other local magazines and publications.

Terri L. Jones