As winter draws closer, neighbors often become more isolated from one other. We venture out less often to walk, putter in the garden or linger at the mailbox. And for seniors who live alone, especially those who no longer drive, winter can be a long and lonely season. An estimated 35 per cent of women over the age of 65 live by themselves and 17 per cent of elderly men live alone.
By taking a moment each week to drop in on one of our elders, neighbors can discretely check on their living conditions and well-being when family may not be close enough to visit frequently. Bring along some muffins or soup and perhaps stay for a cup of coffee. With so many families flung far around the world, we can help our aging population to thrive in the community with just a little effort and in the process teach the next generation the importance of taking care of one another. We all stand to benefit by creating more age friendly and inclusive communities.
Helping Seniors Age in Place
- Offer to clean the walkway after a heavy snow
- Check on seniors during a storm or power outage
- Offer to run an errand or drive to an appointment
- Encourage social contact through a local senior center
- Keep a single senior company on Halloween – hand out candy with them
- Include older adults in seasonal festivities or book clubs
Some neighbors prefer to keep to themselves, however we do tend to be creatures of habit. If you notice something unusual, for example; drapes that are usually open by 8 a.m. are still drawn at 11, you may want to check in to be safe. It’s important to respect privacy and boundaries but we can all do better to give older adults living nearby a bright spot to look forward to in their day and a sense of belonging.