Don’t Forget About Your Neighbors: 7 Ways To Help The Elderly While Social Distancing

Bella Gerard
Don’t Forget About Your Neighbors: 7 Ways To Help The Elderly While Social Distancing
Photo: Photo: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock. Design: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

By now, it’s likely that you’ve more or less adjusted to a new way of living—one full of social distancing, video-chatting with friends and family, and getting creative in the kitchen with whatever groceries you stocked up on before your self-quarantine began. These adjustments are difficult, but it’s important to remember that others are struggling with far worse. Have you given any thought to how to help elderly people during the coronavirus epidemic? Turns out, there’s a lot you can do to be a total lifesaver to your local senior citizens, and it all starts with you reaching out.

Nobody likes to be a bother, and it’s possible elderly people in your community are silently suffering during the COVID-19 breakout simply because they don’t have anyone to reach out to. Imagine how relieved you’d be, as a struggling senior citizen, to hear from someone in your neighborhood that they’re happy to help make your days a little easier. Let’s be honest—you’ve got plenty of free time right now, so there’s no excuse not to do your part. Reach out and offer your services to anyone you can, and rake in some good karma during these especially trying times.You might even end up making a new friend, too.

Not sure where to begin? Social distancing makes connecting with others a bit difficult, but there’s still lots that can be done. Channel your inner Mr. Rogers and be a good neighbor! Read on for some tips on how to help senior citizens who might be stuck at home and in need of assistance.

STYLECASTER | how to help elderly people during coronavirus


1. Let Them Know You’re Nearby

Lots of senior citizens live alone, so times of quarantine and social distancing can be especially lonely and isolating for them. If you know your elderly neighbors, shoot them a text or give them a call and let them know you’re available to help with anything they might need you for. If you’ve never met, leave a note outside their door or slip one through their mail slot. Introduce yourself, offer to help out, and leave your contact information. Chances are, they’ll reach out.

2. Keep Them Informed

Even with the news blaring 24/7, it’s possible your elderly neighbors don’t know some seriously useful information. Alert them to nearby stores offering senior-specific shopping hours, during which they can stock up on essentials without the stress of crowds and long lines. Be sure they’re up-to-date on how to properly wash their hands, sanitize their surroundings, et cetera. No need to come off as condescending; just offer your knowledge and support.

3. Drop Off Groceries & Cleaning Supplies

Despite senior-specific shopping hours and other initiatives, some elderly people will no doubt refuse to leave their homes altogether. It’s perfectly understandable—these are scary times, and our safe spaces are valuable! See if you can pick up groceries, cleaning supplies, and any other necessities for them. If they’re really scared of germs, assure them you’ll wear gloves, leave their packages outside the door, and do whatever it takes to ensure they’re comfortable.

STYLECASTER | how to help elderly people during coronavirus

Bojan Milinkov/AShutterstock

4. Be A Source For Tech Tips

Chances are, you know a senior or two who could use a few FaceTime tips. Offer to show your elderly neighbor how he or she can video chat with grandchildren or friends. Helping them get a little contact with the outside world can be a serious game-changer for their disposition.

5. Offer To Pick Up Prescriptions & Mail

In addition to dropping off quarantine-specific goods, see if you can help make their daily essentials a little bit easier to obtain. Perhaps your neighbor can call their pharmacy and arrange for you to pick up any necessary prescriptions and medications—or, they might simply need someone to bring their mail and packages from their mailbox directly to their doorstep. Offering your services for even just the little things with let seniors know you care.

6. Help Them Find Ways To Pass Time

The hardest part about social distancing is figuring out “fun for one,” or things to do all by yourself to pass the hours. Drop off a few good books, some fun puzzles, or a reminder of some movies airing on TV later that day that they might like to watch. Being alone all day can be depressing, so distractions and activities are key for staying sharp.

7. Keep Them Company

No, they probably don’t want your germ-carrying bod entering their socially-distanced sanctuary, but they might want someone to chat to for a half hour or so every afternoon, for the sake of not feeling so alone. Let your neighbor know you’re around, bored AF, and that you’d love to talk. If they feel as though you’re the one initiating the chat, and that they aren’t pestering you or taking up your time, they’ll be more likely to accept. Plus, you’ll get some good convo out of it too, so it’s a win-win offer. We all need someone to talk to right about now!

News about the Coronavirus is unfolding in real-time, and while we make every effort to ensure our content is accurate, some of the information in this story may have changed. For the most up-to-date news on the pandemic, please go to the CDC or WHO websites. For the latest from STYLECASTER, visit our Coronavirus hub page