Saturday, July 14, 2018

For Long-Distance Caretakers, Neighbors Can Be a Lifeline to Loved Ones in Need


Are you providing care for a senior loved one who lives in a different city or state? When you’re a long distance caretaker, it can be stressful not knowing whether your loved one is safe when you’re away. But if your loved one has a network of neighbors and friends to help you out, it can make life a little easier for you both. Here are some ways you can get to know these neighbors when you live out of town:

Send an Introduction Card  

If you want to get to know your loved one’s neighbors, a simple card or handwritten note can be a warm way of introducing yourself. People love getting cards and positive pieces of mail. You can provide your contact information and some information about your loved one in the card, if you feel comfortable doing so. For neighbors that have already proven themselves to be helpful to your loved one, consider sending a thank you note or a little gift card to show your gratitude for their assistance. Don’t forget to keep these people on your mailing lists for holidays to further build a warm, caring connection.


Find an Organization to Help   

When you don’t live nearby, it can be really tricky to try and get to know your loved one’s neighbors. Luckily, there are local organizations that can help you and your loved one make these important connections. In Denver, organizations such as A Little Help, are connecting seniors to neighbors who can offer assistance, friendship and caring when they need it most. These programs also reach out to younger generations, connecting seniors to high schoolers and middle schoolers who can assist their elderly neighbors with tasks around the home. You can do a quick web search to see if there is a similar program in your loved one’s area.

Make Some Phone Calls

If you can get contact information, why not give your loved one’s neighbors a call to introduce yourself? You can let their neighbors know that you are available if needed and ask them for resources that could help your loved in the area. Even if you don’t make an intro phone call, having the contact information for people living near your loved one is a smart move. You never know when you may need to reach out to get help checking in on your loved one or helping them with a difficult task.  You can also keep a list of emergency numbers in case you need to help your loved one from afar.

Use Social Media 

It’s easier than ever to connect with family and friends with the growing popularity of social media. You can connect with the neighbors of your loved one through social media to make contacting them an easy task. There are even social media sites dedicated to specific neighborhoods. Sites including NextDoor are specifically tailored to encourage communication between neighbors and neighborhoods. Once you’re logged in, you can even look up people on a map to see who lives around your loved one. There are benefits of social media for seniors as well, so connect your loved one, too.

Say “Hello” During Visits 

Being the primary caretaker for your senior family member most likely means a couple of visits from time to time. When you’re in town, try to make some time to get to know the neighbors in person. Pick up some baked goods or bottles of wine and make some house calls to say “hello” and connect with people living in the area. Or, if your loved one feels up to it, host a little house party for the neighbors. All you need is a couple of hours of conversation and some light refreshments to get to know your loved one’s neighbors a little better.

For seniors living alone, having a network of neighbors and friends can be a real lifesaver. By taking the time to get to know the people around them, you can give them this helpful network while giving yourself peace of mind when you are far away.

by Claire Wentz

Photo Credit: Pixabay

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