All it takes is one thing to bring people together and you are no longer alone.
That’s a key thing to remember when marking Neighbour’s Day this week. The theme for this year’s celebration is The Great Plant Swap, reaching out to your neighbours for a friendly chat to share gardening tips, or to swap plants or produce.
Many people got to know their neighbours better after New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown last year, and Safer Napier wants us all to keep up those good habits.
We want to encourage people to reach out and connect with their neighbours, especially those who live alone or who are older, says Liz Lambert, Safer Napier coordinator.
“This might include stopping and saying hello, giving a helping hand when required, or contacting Age Concern if you think somebody needs help. It is all about continuing what people did during lockdown – neighbours looking out for neighbours.”
There is strong evidence to show that social isolation or loneliness is linked to poor mental and physical health outcomes, so people staying active, connected and well supported as they grow older is critical, says Morag Hill, Manager Age Concern Napier.
For family who may not live in the same city as an elderly relative or not be able to visit as much as they like, it can also bring some peace of mind knowing that someone cares.
Here are some helpful tips about what to do if you have an elderly neighbour: stop and say hello, reach out for a friendly chat, ask if they need help with anything, swap phone numbers, and check if you notice they don’t open the curtains, turn on the lights or empty the mailbox.
If you’re worried about your elderly neighbour, contact NZ Police or Age Concern Napier, phone 842 1346.
Safer Napier, which is coordinated by Napier City Council, is an accredited International Safe Community of over 40 agencies, organisations and groups working together and taking a coordinated approach to improve community safety.
22 March 2021
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