For seniors living independently, neighbors can be an essential aid in their care process. Because seniors want to continue to live alone, caregivers may find their options for daily check-ins limited, especially if they live apart or travel regularly for work. Neighbors can be useful for aspects of senior care, but they do have limitations.
Sometimes peace of mind can be derived from knowing that someone will be in the neighborhood checking on your senior. Since they live nearby, neighbors are convenient because it isn’t going out of their way to knock on the door or do a wellness check. Making a copy of a key for a trusted neighbor can also help.
Active neighbors who know what is going on in the neighborhood can help your senior stay involved in the community by inviting them to events or simply catching up on community news. Seniors who have people to communicate with will feel happier and more interested in the world than those who rely only on television.
Since they share a neighborhood, neighbors can keep seniors informed if they hear anything about increased crime, neighborhood rules, city or local news and other events. Neighbors can also help seniors with small chores like getting the mail, picking up the paper or checking on housework.
What neighbors need
Neighbors who are helping with monitoring should have access to family phone numbers and information like emergency doctors. They should also know where the first aid kit is. A key to the home is also useful so they can let themselves in if your senior isn’t answering the door.
Hiring professional help
While neighbors can be a helpful stopgap for caregivers, especially those who live far away, many are justifiably concerned about taking on too many responsibilities for a senior non-relative. At some point, neighbor care can only do much and caregivers need to consider hiring a care provider. Care providers are trained in how to interact with seniors and are much more prepared to help them. They can also assist with light housework and will regularly check on your senior as part of their rounds.
While neighbors can be helpful, it can also be difficult for caregivers to burden neighbors with looking after a senior. At a certain point, seniors need more care than a neighbor can provide, and it can feel unfair to put increased expectations on a non-professional.
By hiring a senior care provider, caregivers have:
Many seniors don’t want to feel like a burden, and there’s no reason you can’t have both a senior care provider and a neighbor stopping by. But by hiring a senior care provider, you reduce the stress and feeling of obligation of your senior’s neighbors.