Expert Health Articles

Neighborly Acts of Kindness Make a Positive Impact

Neighbors helping neighbors is nothing new to our area. During a pandemic, it is easy to focus on keeping yourself and family members safe. However, more than ever, your elderly or home-bound neighbors may need your assistance. Your neighborly acts of kindness can make a difference in someone’s life. Some of your neighbors may be elderly, living alone, have a health condition making them high risk for COVID-19, influenza or they have just returned home from the hospital and do not have the energy to do simple tasks.

Many are isolating themselves from others in fear of getting sick and may be uncomfortable asking others for help. Staying at home is their best option. Let your neighbor know this is what neighbors do, we help each other, and that you will be following current guidelines in keeping your distance, washing and sanitizing hands and wearing proper PPE while helping them with daily tasks. Getting to know your neighbors is the first step. Some suggestions of what you can do to help are as follows.

Before running errands to the post office, pharmacy, library or a restaurant to pick up takeout, call your neighbors and ask if there is something you can pick up for them. Offer to make a weekly grocery run and suggest staple products, such as toilet paper, bottled water, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, batteries, etc.

Ordering groceries and takeout on an electronic device has become very popular and many religious services can be viewed online, as well. Ask your neighbor if they would like assistance in attending worship service online, placing a grocery order or ordering their favorite meal to be delivered to their doorstep. 

Weather can be challenging as cooler temperatures approach. During the winter season, offer to remove snow from walks and driveway and salt the icy spots. Offer to bring their mail and newspaper to the porch and to take out and retrieve trash cans on trash day.   

Be creative and drop off a care package, such as homemade soup, crackers and desserts, along with coloring books and colored pencils, a puzzle or word search books. If children are in the household, a board game would be great for family activity.  

You may consider other helpful suggestions such as volunteering to walk their dog, offering to help with minor home repairs, donating to local food pantries for families that may be struggling to make ends meet.  

The mental toll of self-isolation can be immense for some. Socialization is important to brain health and a better quality of life. With their permission, exchange phone numbers and call them frequently to check-in. Your friendly conversation may be their best opportunity to meaningfully interact with someone that day. 

Above are suggestions to help you to be a good neighbor. Contact your neighbors and see how you can be of assistance. According to the old African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Our neighbors are our village.

Amy Rathbun
Admissions - Birchaven Village