Fall is upon us. The air is crisper, the sun isn’t as warm, more rain, days are getting shorter and the evening dark comes sooner. We tend not to be outside as much as in summer. This is the natural progression of the seasons, summer turning into fall, fall turning into winter. We turn inward to the warmth of our homes which means we are not outside, visible to our neighbors and visiting with our friends. It also means, especially for seniors, less socialization, and more isolation. Isolation and loneliness are considered major health risks for seniors.
How do you combat these risks? In one word…community. This means all of us who live in Tualatin live in this community, a place where we come together to be friendly and be a friend, to know our neighbors, to look out for each other and watch over each other, especially our seniors.
How do you do this? Do you know your senior neighbors? If not, would you take a few moments please to get to know them? When you go to your mailbox, ask your senior neighbor if you can collect their mail for them? When you are putting your patio furniture away for the winter, ask your senior neighbor if you can help put theirs away. When you make a stew, soup, a casserole or a dessert, how about making a little extra and sharing with your senior neighbor. When you go to the store, ask your senior neighbor if they need anything or would like to go with you. Can you take a few minutes out of your day to have a short visit with your senior neighbor? Being noticed and having a conversation goes a long way to combat loneliness and isolation.
And to all the seniors – do you know your neighbors, do you greet them when outside, do you have a conversation, do you share the warm cookies you just made, take your neighbor flowers from your garden, do you offer to collect your neighbor’s mail, newspapers, packages if they aren’t home, do you make an effort to be part of the community? It works both ways. If you are feeling alone and isolated, be bold, and say hi. It might surprise you how a hello and a smile can turn into a friendship.
The biggest opportunity to make someone else’s life more pleasant and meaningful is to be part of the community, whether you are a senior or younger, whether it is just the block you live on or the whole street or the entire city. Be that good neighbor, be that good friend, be that angel.
You can make a difference for yourself and for those around you. You just might give someone a “new lease on life!” and won’t that feel grand.
Attend a Meeting!
The Tualatin Aging Task Force meets the 2nd Monday of each month, 3 pm, Juanita Pohl Center. For comments, questions, concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.