NEXT POSTWalk the neighbour I was talking to a friend the other day about how her father, recently out of hospital, had become bloated without exercise, overweight, swollen ankles etc. She was having to go over and get him up and walking round the house, up and down a bit. I recall doing this with my mum, starting with the nearest lamp-post on the street and back, then maybe targeting the next one, a little further each time. In her case we were fortunate in that she had wonderful neighbours who helped, in many ways. This is not a rare situation though and there is obviously a role for neighbours here. It couldn't be much more suitable for neighbourly involvement could it? No special skills needed, a very modest amount of mutually-convenient time, a little interaction, being there. But as we know, older people tend not to want to trouble others; their children often don't know their parents' neighbours; and care workers are even less likely to know them, and more likely to retreat from safeguarding obstacles. One example I found here: 'My Good Neighbour takes me out for a walk and helps me with silly little things, like reaching items in the house that I cannot do. I cannot walk outside unaided so it is helping me keep mobile and to get some fresh air.'
PREVIOUS POSTNeighbouring ain't what it used to be I sometimes feel I'm a bit of a lone voice in calling for an understanding of neighbouring that takes account of social change. Neighbouring ain't what it used to be, and that's only to be expected; most other things ain't, either. Now here's Chris, who's thought about it a bit, commenting on this blog post about the Vermont network Front Porch Forum. Chris notes wisely that 'being neighborly' has been redefined: 'Many people today, in cities at least, just don’t feel the need to know and interact with people regularly simply because they live next to them. We’ve silently succumbed to the realization that we want better reasons to invest time in strangers... 'I may not know my next door neighbor but do I really need to just because he lives next door? What if we have no interests in common? Don’t worry, I’ll still call the fire department if his house catches fire and I’ll still watch for suspicious people in his yard (in addition to mine), but I just don’t care about his obsessive gardening because I don’t care at all about gardening myself.' With the advent of the internet and global real-time communications, Chris notes, 'most people in the modern world have simply recognized subconsciously that making friends in person one neighbor at a time is just damned inefficient.'