The U.S. population is growing older and people are choosing to stay in their own homes as they age. If you look around your neighborhood, there are probably houses where a senior couple lives or where a senior lives alone. Many of us are often concerned about these elderly neighbors and their wellbeing.

To alleviate some of your concerns, try reaching out to your neighbor. If you don’t already know them, introduce yourself and exchange phone numbers.  Establish a casual relationship. Let them know where you live and that you are available if they need anything, even something as small as helping to carry their groceries or changing a lightbulb that is difficult to reach. Although At Home In Darien can provide these services, we find that people are often hesitant to ask for help from someone they don’t know. A relationship with a neighbor can put you in a position to know if your neighbor requires some support, how you can provide that assistance if needed, and allow you to recommend our free services should you be unable to help.

How do you know if your elderly neighbor needs assistance?

Watch out for these signs:

  • You see a noticeable change in your neighbor’s routine. For example, lights that are typically off in your neighbor’s house by 9 pm stay on all night, or you hear their dog barking and have not seen the animal outside recently.
  • Your neighbor’s car has not moved in a while or is showing signs of damage that may indicate difficulty driving, or perhaps you witness your neighbor driving erratically.
  • You notice the lawn is overgrown, the driveway isn’t plowed after a snowfall, or something is amiss about the home.
  • Your neighbor’s mailbox is overflowing with mail.
  • Your neighbor looks unkempt or not well.

What do you do if you think your elderly neighbor needs assistance?

You can assist your senior neighbors without taking on sizable caregiving responsibilities:

  • Call to check-in. If they answer the phone and everything is fine, simply say hello.
  • Exchange phone numbers with their family members who come to visit, so you can contact them with any concerns or if there is an emergency.
  • If you haven’t seen your neighbor in a day or two and get no response to a phone call, knock on their door. If you get no response, call the non-emergency police line (for Darien 203-662-5300) and ask for a Wellness Check on your neighbor.

Don’t wait for your neighbor to need help to be a good friend. Small acts of kindness can go a long way. Recommend the services At Home In Darien offers, or give us a call if you feel your neighbor needs more help than you can provide.  But, above all, reach out to the seniors around you and be a good neighbor.