- Build friendships across generations on your block.
- Start as a friend, the same way you would with anyone.
- Listen to learn if any assistance may be appreciated. Go slowly and be gentle on first offers to help. Most of us appreciate help, but we do not like to be viewed as someone who needs help. Offer insight into why you want to help, like “we enjoy your company.” If you are turned down, don’t insist, just leave it open for the future and try again. Common things neighbors help with include rides for grocery shopping, taking out the garbage or recycling, changing light bulbs, snow removal, visiting over a cup of coffee.
- Respond to offers of reciprocity. It is easy to say, “You don’t need to do anything for me.” However, most people want to reciprocate and it is important that they do. Find things with which they can help. Accept baked goods, watering your plants while you are gone or whatever can be comfortably accepted. Many people draw the line on accepting money—it is up to you.
- Watch for transitions when extra support may be needed such as giving up their driver’s license, diagnosis of illness, return from the hospital or death of a spouse.
- Be prepared if you see changes in the person’s condition or signs of concern. Call the North End-South Como Block Nurse Program at 651-487-5135 to talk over the situation. Sometimes it helps to just talk to someone working with services for seniors.
- Reports of falls
- Indication of forgetfulness
- Unclear on medication
- Not eating/losing weight
- House deteriorating or unsafe
- Seeing other people less
Do not be surprised if you are told they do not want any services. Often people are so comfortable with help from neighbors and family they do not see the need or they are afraid that asking for services will risk their independence.
Feel good about what you are doing and enjoy it. What you doing is incredibly important!