Manning in-home aged care and community services provider Southcare is calling on kindness within the local community in the wake of unprecedented social isolation which is rapidly unfolding with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Chief Executive Officer Dr Nicky Howe said with Neighbour Day coming up on 29 March and the theme this year being “Social Connection” there has never been a better time to be a good neighbour – albeit with a heightened sense of good general health and following approved social distancing practices.
“Social isolation within our ageing community is very real and others are starting to see how devastating that can be with the restrictions enforced upon us when self-quarantining at home.
“We know in recent times that Coronavirus kills. The sad reality is that social isolation also kills and has been a silent killer for our ageing population for many years.
“We certainly don’t advocate public gatherings within neighbourhoods as we all must take heed of the World Health Organisation’s requirements to remain vigilant with social distancing and personal hygiene.
“What we are simply asking is to just look out for each other – what the world needs now is kindness, compassion and a resurgence of some old-fashioned values that put people at the core of daily life – especially as we don’t know just how long this will be the status quo,” Nicky said.
Some practices that the community could use to be a good neighbour include:
• Place a handwritten card in local letterboxes – particularly the aged or those that live alone – with your details and an offer to help with shopping, walking their dog or gardening or simply just lending an ear and your time to listen
• Set up an online community on Facebook Messenger, What’s App or an email list with those that live in your street to share messages of support and connection
• Use video services like Facetime or Skype to video call and check in on your neighbours as you both see each other and feel connected
• Offer to buy shopping or run errands for those that can’t or don’t drive
• Pick up some takeaway and be an uber driver to deliver your favourite food to your neighbour who can’t leave their home
• Set up regular telephone “check-in” times where you telephone a neighbour at the same time every day or a few times a week to connect
Salter Point resident Kathryn Perin said having lived local for 20 years she already knew a lot of her neighbours but has been motivated to reach out to others since news of social isolation started spreading.
“My parents are both in their 80s, so I understand their changing needs, limited mobility and preference to remain at home where it is a safe retreat,” Kathryn said.
“Doing my part within my local neighbourhood was an easy decision and proves that in the wake of this horrible and unpredictable news there are silver linings if you look for them.
“If just one person popped a heartfelt handwritten note into another’s letterbox offering a service of support or offer of connection, imagine the social interactions we could all have.
“Just because you can’t easily engage in person doesn’t mean you should not engage at all.
“If we all showed a little kindness, everyday could be Neighbour Day,” Kathryn said.