It’s true to say that since becoming a parent, I’ve become a more empathetic person. It kind of comes with the territory. In this fast-paced world we live in, however, many of us don’t stop from the moment we get up, to the moment we fall back into bed again. Our world is becoming more and more digitalised too, which is great to curb the loneliness that paradoxically comes with creting a family. For a lot of older people, however, it can be difficult to make a connection, even more so if they’re in need of a little help getting out and about.
If you want to do your bit to help an elderly neighbour or you’re worried about someone in your neighbourhood and you’re not sure of how to tackle your concerns, then read on for some simple advice that could make a big difference to someone’s life.
Keeping warm and well
We know that it’s been quite cold these past few months, and older people are more susceptible to the cold and any illnesses that come with it so if you’re paying a neighbour a visit make sure that they’re warm and their heating is working. If you’re based in the north, and looking at new energy suppliers, then check out supersaveroil (based in Northern Ireland).
Keep an eye out for reoccurring illnesses too. A hacking cough that won’t go away or a rash that’s spreading.
Start a conversation
Reaching out to someone isn’t always as easy as we think. The best way to begin, is simply say hello if you pass them in the street, if you don’t see them out and about very often there’s nothing wrong with knocking on their door and introducing yourself.
If an elderly person in the neighbourhood has suffered a bereavement, has been ill or recently come out of hospital, has hearing or sight loss and don’t have close family living nearby then it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them if they’d like any help with some practical tasks. Popping to the shop for some milk? Ask them if they need anything picking up. Maybe they have a letter that needs posting or a prescription that needs collecting; there are lots of little things you can do to make their day a little easier.
Lending a helping hand is a great way to achieve a sense of purpose in your own life; your visit might only be a small part of your day but it could be a huge part of theirs. Getting older can make some of the easiest jobs around the house more difficult.
A lightbulb change, taking the bin out, putting up some pictures or helping them rearrange furniture, the list goes on. Regardless of the task at hand – your help will be appreciated!
Share a meal
Made too much shepherds pie? Or eyes bigger than your stomach? If someone you know is living alone and often have to cook for themselves, why not take them a plate? Cooking can be a struggle as we get older, so not only is this a practical gesture but it’s also a nice way to spend time with your elderly neighbour and pass the time of day.