In the recent COVID-19 health crisis, many of us have learned how much we rely on neighbours, community members, friends, healthcare providers, landlords and local retailers – all in different ways… Our awareness has been heightened about the value of emergency preparedness at a neighborhood level.
Successful aging involves both accepting the help of others, and offering help to others. This two-way logistical help can be created in a more organized way with trusted people (of all ages) who live near you, in a building, block, neighborhood or town. Some options for neighbour networks to explore include:
- Create an online channel to communicate and organize reciprocal help with things like grocery pick-ups, drives, dog walks, etc.
- Hire a caterer and plan some meals with others
- Create a common space in your building or main street that you can use on a regular basis for meals, social or a library or book club
- Organize a group exercise class or yoga in your building or block
- Collaborate with a community agency or service provider to arrange services such as meal catering, home help, or “hands on care” (e.g. a Personal Support Worker/PSW)
As your community explores what you want and need, you can also involve others to help enable your efforts. You could collaborate with your landlord, condo board, or property manager, home care organizations, or local retailers.
The OASIS Project in Canada: A group of seniors living in a building they loved, created their own social support network (called “OASIS”). They collaborated with their private landlord to adapt a common space within the building. They also set up partnerships to bring in the types of services they needed in the shared spaces of their building. They “co-designed and created” what’s called a “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community” or a “NORC”. Click here for more info: OASIS Model
And, if you are living in a multi-story building within a city and want to create an OASIS style model, check out these design ideas called, Vertical Aging: The Future of Aging in Place in Urban Canada