Neighborly caregivers can be a boon for seniors

Kevin Magna

September 9, 2010

Paula Span, the author of When the Time Comes: Families with Aging Parents Share Their Struggles and Solutions, recently wrote in The New York Times that her aging father may not be living independently if it weren’t for the invaluable help of his neighbors, Jo Ann and Fred.

Span, who lives 125 miles away from her father, says that the couple has helped at least six senior citizens with day-to-day tasks that may have otherwise been impossible for them to accomplish. This consists of everything from making complicated meals to shopping to replacing the light in the kitchen ceiling.

Jo Ann was there for Span’s father when he woke up at dawn with intense abdominal pain. He called Jo Ann before contacting his daughters or the paramedics.

“They need help,” Jo Ann told the news provider. “So if I can do it, I help.” Span claims that these vigilant neighbors can make an enormous difference in a community where residents are often in their 80s or 90s.

Baby boomers with aging parents far from home may also be worried about their welfare. One way to guarantee that a senior has a way to contact a helpful neighbor or the hospital is to install a personal emergency response system in their residence.

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