Skip to main content

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


Popular posts from this blog

Living Grief

 As caregivers, many of us deal with daily grief and a constant sense of loss. Even though we don't feel these emotions all of the time, they do keep coming back. For me, mine is often sparked by seeing something on my Facebook feed. I'll see one of Chris' friends or a memory and it'll tip my emotional bucket right over. Living grief is one of those things the church doesn't know how to deal with. Well, honestly, who really knows how to deal with it? It's not just going to go away, now is it? :-) In some hyper-faith circles, grief is pretty much forbidden. Yet even under the old law, it was allowed room. If you lost a close loved one such as a spouse, parent, or sibling, you were given an entire year to mourn. Our culture allows a little time, but then we are expected to be back at work, back at church, or back to our daily lives after a very short time. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other. But living grief continues. When we deal with parents wh

The Best Meeting

  I know I've written quite a few times about Hagar, but her story intrigues me. I think I can relate to the rejection and loneliness she must have felt. In numerous devotions, I've talked about how God met her right where she was. She did have God "find" her twice. But there are other people in the scriptures that God met too. The list is a bit longer when we start thinking about how many times God met someone along the way. Twice He came and ministered to Hagar, He met Saul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), He met Balaam and stopped him before he sinned against God (Numbers 22). Jesus went through Samaria on purpose  to speak with the woman at the well. He crossed two taboos in their time - going through Samaria and speaking to a woman! (John 4) He walked out to the disciples in a storm in Matthew 8. And the Angel of God came to Gideon when he was hiding from the Midianites in Judges 6. It's easy for today's religious thinkers to label these Bible characters

But I Have Today

Do you ever have days that are just heavier than others? Of course, you do - who am I talking to? Saturday was Chris' 37th birthday. For some reason, it was unusually hard as I thought of where all his friends are today. You know, married, having kids, and enjoying their careers. I cried more than once that day. I grieved over what should have been, what could have been.  I hugged him a little tighter and thought about the progress he's made recently. The other night, I am certain he "sang" to me after I got him in bed. It was the sweetest thing and I posted it in his Facebook group where I share things I don't feel I can share as "publicly." He's moving more and initiating more of his movement on his own. There are many things to rejoice about. At the same time, I am getting older. My joints hurt and I wonder how much longer I can take care of him. I fear the day that I won't be able to. This is the way the rest of my life looks, and I am okay w