So many have asked us recently in light of Covid 19, and then neighborhood unrest, “How can I help seniors in areas affected?” The outpouring of generosity and community concern has been deeply moving. Our older neighbors are proving themselves to be resilient and resourceful, yet again. That said, we are also talking to many people who miss usual activities and connections, as well.
To answer the “how to help” question, we could use volunteers to do the following things:
• ”Adopt” a senior’s home this summer for mowing and weeding and/or raking and shoveling in other seasons
• As clinics reopen, we will need volunteer drivers for medical appointments who are at less risk for Covid-19 transmission than older drivers, some of whom have had to take a break
• Weed a senior’s yard and/or remove volunteer trees, or prune shrubs. Some lifelong gardeners with new limitations feel discouraged.
• Paint a garage, clean a garage, or wash windows at a senior’s home
• Deliver from a food shelf or grocery store to a senior’s home regularly
• Handyperson skills? Change a lock or install motion detector lights at a senior’s home
• Have a pickup? Haul trash, compost, or waste to the appropriate place. This is a morale booster and stress reliever. (Homeowner will cover disposal fees, typically).
Direct service to seniors – in their yards or as a volunteer driver – requires a background check and short volunteer application. To complete the background check, and begin the volunteer intake process, email Service Director Monica Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org. (If you are serving with a group outside, we ask that the group leader complete the background check). She can send you a link to complete the background check right away. There is also a volunteer application. Volunteer drivers must also show proof of valid insurance, driver’s license, and complete a 30-min. volunteer intake over the phone.
There are other ways to support seniors in our neighborhood, short of becoming an “official” volunteer:
• Introduce yourself, or simply leave a note, for your older neighbors. Leave your contact info if you feel comfortable. Many people we a to are disappointed they don’t know their neighbors anymore.
• When you are going to the store yourself, ask an older neighbor if they need something.
• Even if you are young and healthy, wear a mask in public and take hygiene precautions – you will be indirectly protecting senior neighbors
• Donate to the rebuilding of Lloyd’s Pharmacy or other damaged businesses – links on the Hamline Midway Coalition page.
• Identify local reliable, friendly, affordable mowing services, favorite handyperson, electrical, plumbing, or housecleaners to add to our Aging Well resource list. These should be contractors willing to accept checks, phone calls, and to complete a background check including references.
• Be aware of handicapped parking spaces, sidewalks, etc. when you park in the neighborhood. Open doors for those using walkers, canes – or anyone, really!
Please call our office with any questions or concerns. We remain grateful to serve a community-minded neighborhood!