Are You Worried about your Neighbour?

Are You Worried About Your Neighbour?

Most of us value being part of a community and appreciate being greeted by name when out locally. What do you do however, if you become worried about your elderly neighbour you have befriended? There is help out there.

Your primary role could just be to pick up the phone and get the right conversation going to get your neighbour the support they need. Below are two common scenarios, regularly experienced by older people, and advice on who can help.

Your neighbour has stopped going out

People reduce their social activities and trips outside the house for many reasons. Poor health and falls can diminish their confidence, to the point that staying indoors is the easiest option.

This often becomes a downward spiral, and although they become very lonely, the cure for it seems insurmountable. It can be likened to an overdue library book that you now owe a fine on but are too nervous to face the librarian, so you let the worry build instead.

Your neighbour has difficulty managing life independently

People can find managing their life and their home is no longer within their physical and mental limits. Perhaps the cooking, shopping and cleaning become too much, so some chores are neglected and their standard of living decreases.

Age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s have more of a grip, and safety may become an issue. Many things can happen to turn someone's home from a haven to a place where both the resident and visitors are at risk. Often people assume they now have to go into residential care because they can now no longer manage independently.

Help is at hand

Here in Essex, we have two excellent resources that can help, and both will visit your neighbour in their home:

  • Community Agents Essex

Tel: 08009 775 858/ 01376 574 341

www.communityagentsessex.org.uk

Email: [email protected]

  • My Plan: Colne

Tel: 01206 244 769

www.colnehousing.co.uk/myplan

Email: [email protected]

The remit of both these resources is to promote health and independence and reduce social isolation in older people. There are many elderly people whose lives are darkened by solvable problems, yet our system of social support can be a minefield to navigate. Community Agents Essex and My Plan staff, visit people at home and look at their whole situation to identify their problems.

They then work with the person to pull in help from our rich but complex network of statutory and voluntary agencies. That guidance, support and encouragement can make all the difference. As a friendly neighbour, you do not have to step over your personal boundaries to investigate what is going on, you can make a tremendous difference simply by making a phone call.