If you have older neighbours, the chances are they’re enjoying highly fulfilling lives. But they could be feeling uncertain, isolated and lonely at this unprecedented time. Supporting your neighbours could mean sharing a meal or setting up their online shopping. Read on to find out more.
Start a conversation
If you want to know how to support an older neighbour, start a conversation. Talking is one of the most effective ways of dealing with feelings of isolation and loneliness, so take the time to knock on your neighbour’s door or stop and talk if you pass them in the street.
Lend a helping hand
Do you have an elderly neighbour who’s recently bereaved or living alone? Perhaps they’re disabled or have difficulty leaving the house. An offer of practical help is an excellent way to give them support.
Offer to pick up their shopping or prescription or give them a lift to the library or the hairdressers. They may be struggling to care for pets, especially in the winter months, so take the dog for a walk. You could also offer to set up technology to help them make video calls or do their shopping online.
Show you care
Often it’s the simplest gestures that show you care that make a big difference. Get the kids involved in making cards or small gifts. Or take the time to write a postcard or letter to pop through the door. You could put together a box of essentials if they’ve been isolating and unable to get to the shops.
Older people can need a hand cooking for themselves but could benefit from a hot meal. Next time you’re in the kitchen, make an extra portion so they can enjoy some nutritious home cooking.
Keep an eye out
Another way to support an elderly neighbour is to keep an eye out for signs they could be struggling. Curtains closed all day or not closed in the evening, and letters poking out of the letterbox could be signs that all is not well.
If you contact your neighbour and they seem drowsy, have slurred speech or complain of feeling cold when the room is already cold, get in touch with their doctor as soon as possible, or call 112.