HOW TO BE A GOOD NEIGHBOUR
Everything starts with a simple hello. Take a couple of minutes out of your day to introduce yourself to your neighbours, especially if someone is new to the area. It’s a great way to make them feel welcome and create a happier community. You could pass them on some useful information about the local area including local transport, bin schedules and other useful tips. Elderly people in the area may feel particularly vulnerable and isolated when left by themselves so you could invite them round for a cup of tea and a chat – this could make a big difference to their day. You could offer to help them with running errands or offer to pick up bread and milk from the local shop.
Offer to help
People can often be too proud to ask for help even though they may need it! Neighbours are always willing to give a helping hand so don’t be afraid to ask, it’s also a great way to get to know them and removes any awkwardness from a static conversation on the doorstep. Simple jobs can become quite difficult for some as we get older so helping elderly neighbours with their more strenuous jobs can be a massive help to them, it can be as simple as taking the bin out, changing a lightbulb or offering to give them a lift. It’s a great, non-intrusive way to regularly check up on them.
Keep an eye out for unusual behaviour
There are several changes in behaviour you can look out for that should raise concern. Perhaps you haven’t seen your neighbour for a while or their curtains have been drawn for a few days. Ask around to check if they have informed anyone they were going away, especially their neighbours living either side. If no one has heard anything, knock and check if everything is ok. Speaking with your neighbours about safety in the neighbourhood is very important and you can suggest that everyone keeps each other in the loop when they are heading away, for peace of mind and so you can keep an eye on any suspicious behaviour.
Keep communication lines open
We are more connected than ever with the recent advances in the digital world. It’s a great way to instantly keep in touch if you don’t feel like a face-to-face conversation. Setting up a group WhatsApp group or a private Facebook group is a great way to share community news, spread the word about events in the local area or inform people about crimes in the neighbourhood. If your elderly neighbours aren’t digitally savvy, you could offer your expertise to show them how to use a computer or smartphone to help keep them connected.
You might have had your annual gas safety check, but what about your neighbours? A regular service of all gas appliances – boilers, cookers, fires and heaters – is the best defence against carbon monoxide leaks. Gas safety checks are carried out by Gas Safe Registered engineers. By inspecting the condition of the appliance, pipework, air vents and flues, as well as undertaking necessary performance test, the engineer can ensure your appliances are operating safely and efficiently.
Dominic Rodgers was 10 in 2004 when carbon monoxide seeped into his bedroom from his neighbour’s faulty boiler, killing him in his sleep. Taking the time to make sure the people on your street have had their annual gas service can help prevent tragedies like this from happening again. Likewise, a carbon monoxide alarm can act as an early warning system and can be a vital piece of kit for keeping you, your family and your neighbours safe.