Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Know your Neighbour(s)

Remember when you knew your neighbours? I do.

Growing up my parents were good friends with our neighbours. I counted these people as “honorary” grandparents and we spent a great deal of time with them. My mum would often have a few drinks with Barby who lived next door, and they would share the highs and lows from their day. In essence we formed a little community of neighbours who became friends, and part of our lives.

I believe that knowing your neighbours helps build a sense of community, and perhaps this is something that we have lost as our lives get busier, and as we move around more.

Do not get me wrong, “neighbour” relationships (like any relationships) can be tricky things and often based on a thin line between love and hate. Nevertheless, I personally think it is so important that you at least know your neighbours in case of an emergency and to offer a friendly wave or greeting. If a friendly wave or greeting then grows further into a friendship; fantastic!

I am not that creative, and really all I can do is write and bake. When I bake, I bake with love in my heart. So, last Christmas I decided that I would bake for our direct neighbours as part of what I consider “Christmas spirit”. It was also a way to introduce ourselves to them, so if they ever needed something or help they would at least know who we were.

On Sunday the gentleman that lives across the road from us was taken away by ambulance. He has terminal cancer and lives alone. He has some amazing friends that live 2 doors up, and also a friend that checks on him regularly. It appears that someone noticed something amiss and got in touch with his friend who went to check on him. It turns out that he not only had a heart attack, but had a stroke as well. I feel gutted that he might have lain there for hours needing medical assistance and all the while life continued around him.

So if you take one thing from this blog post, then perhaps a wave or a friendly hello to your neighbours might be the beginning of something amazing. At the very least you may end up knowing your neighbours should you ever need help.

For me it has made me realise that life is so short, and elderly people who live on their own are particularly vulnerable.