They say good fences make good neighbours but getting to know your neighbours may also make you feel more secure by knowing that there are familiar faces around to help in times of need. It is Neighbour Day on March 26 and this year’s theme is ‘The Importance of Social Connection for the Elderly’. Therefore, Neighbour Day is an ideal opportunity for people to get to know their older neighbours who may be living alone and feeling isolated from those around them.
Today, there are more people living alone than ever before with one in four Australian homes being a lone-person household. For those in their 70s and over, living alone is more common, especially for women whom are twice as likely to live alone compared to men. For elderly people, having trusted neighbours they can rely on could be a lifeline.
Other benefits to being on good terms with your neighbours can include:
- someone additional keeping an eye on your property and letting you know if anyone suspicious has been hanging around
- storing a spare set of keys to your house in case you get locked out
- collecting your mail if you’re going to be away, so potential burglars don’t realise your house is unoccupied
- having a trusted neighbour in the street can be of great comfort, whether for a conversation or to help change a light bulb.
Elderly people may wish to invest in a personal alarm, such as ADT Security IndiPendant that can be worn as a pendant or wristband and includes a panic button that is monitored 24/7. When the user presses the device, a signal is sent to ADT Security’s 24-hour monitoring centre and a notification will be sent to the nominated contacts, such as family,friends or trusted neighbours. From there, an ambulance call out can be arranged if necessary.
Elderly Australians are encouraged to develop strong social networks for better physical and mental health. Developing and maintaining these social networks for the elderly can prove difficult, especially if driving is no longer an option and public transport is unavailable or unreliable. It therefore stands to reason that these older Australians would benefit from closer relationships with their neighbours to feel safe and secure in their community. For more information about Neighbour Day, visit www.neighbourday.org.