When you become a caregiver, you’ve never been in more need of people who will have your back. Sometimes we overlook the friends and neighbors that are in our parents’ lives. If your family is fortunate enough to have good friends and neighbors, these are the people you can count on and you should thank them often!
Friends and neighbors are a resource you can count on. Make sure you have their phone numbers handy so they can check on your parents when you can’t be there. This is especially important for those of you who live far away from your folks. Give all your parents’ friends and neighbors your numbers as well. They will let you know if something is wrong.
Sometimes we can’t be available to take our folks to the store or to a doctor’s appointment. Those friends and neighbors will likely be the ones to fill in when needed. Sometimes you might just need an afternoon off for your own appointments or to just get away. Your parents also need many people in their lives to keep them engaged and happy.
Last week I found out how really fortunate I am that my parents have good neighbors. My parents live on two acres as does their neighbors. Momma woke me up a little after 2 a.m. saying the police were all over their property looking for a prowler. Both my parents are hard of hearing so I’m so thankful that two of their neighbors had seen someone with a flashlight in their yard. Those great neighbors didn’t wait around, they immediately called the police. Within minutes five officers were combing my parents’ property to find the suspect. They didn’t find him but I’m sure they scared him off.
I only live a couple of miles away, too far to know what’s going on all the time, but my parents’ neighbors are right there. They can help at a moment’s notice. That takes a load off my mind. I know the neighbors will call me if my parents are unable to reach the phone. They know my parents’ and their habits. I am very thankful that they do.
The neighbors stop by quite often for a little visit with my parents. Some weeks they’re the only people aside from me that my parents see. Isolation especially in the elderly can cause depression and anxiety. Both of these can lead to health problems and the isolated elderly are at the highest risk for morbidity.
I know this will sound funny, but I’m also thankful for my mother’s dog. Parker gets her out and about each morning for a walk and they often run into neighbors. They’ll stop and chat and catch up, so the neighbors know when my father isn’t doing so well or my momma is having any trouble. That’s a good thing. The neighbors care.
So cultivate the friendships of your parents’ neighbors. You never know when they’ll be a lifesaver. Who knows what might have happened if my parents’ neighbors hadn’t called the police?