Winter is coming and let’s face it; life in the UK right now is looking pretty bleak for the average household. Wages are stagnant and the cost of living has never been higher – not to mention the disgraceful hike in energy prices.
But, despite all of the misery, there is much that we can do to remain positive and it all starts with a little generosity.
In this article, we’re going to share some ideas on how to help your elderly neighbours this winter. Everyone is going to be having a difficult time but there are few people quite as vulnerable as old people. Even if you select one item from the list, that act of generosity could make a world of difference. Plus, it feels good to be kind so what’s the harm in a little selfish altruism?
1 – Prepare them a winter-preparation checklist
Just as you should be preparing your home for winter, so should your elderly neighbour. Put a winter checklist together for your own home and then when you start carrying out some of these tasks, why not offer to help your them with theirs?
For example: going around and inspecting their doors and windows for any gaps that could use sealing is a great start. You can also double-check that their outdoor lights and in good working order so that they can safely exit and enter their home when it gets dark early in the evening.
These little tasks will be quick and easy for you to carry out while something that they may struggle with – or forget to take care of entirely.
2 – Check up on them periodically
Give your neighbour a knock once in a while to make sure that they are OK and that they have everything they need. If you are popping out to do a grocery shop for example, it’s always worth dropping in to see if they need anything picking up? Saving your elderly neighbour, a trip outside in the bitter cold is a wonderful way to help lighten the load and help them feel more comfortable.
3 – Share a hot meal
Whether you’d like to invite them over for the occasional hot meal or cook plenty of food so that you can drop over a nice steamy bowl of soup after you’ve eaten, sharing a hot meal is a generous way to help. Delicious, hearty foods are great for warming the body and deterring hypothermia in the colder months! Plus, it’s always nice to offer an elderly neighbour some much-needed company.
4 – Offer them a room for the night
It might sound silly and perhaps you don’t have a close enough relationship with your neighbour to warrant this, but if money is tight for both households, why waste money on heating both homes every night if you can arrange the occasional sleepover?
You could have them over once a week for dinner and insist that they sleep in the spare room. That way, they can turn their heating off at home and save some money.
Again, it might sound like a stretch and in many cases, your neighbour will likely be too proud to ever go for such an idea, but if it feels right, there’s no harm in the offering.
5 – Remind them to have their boiler checked
This ties in closely with the winter checklist, such as bleeding radiators and digging out the extra blankets; make sure they have their boiler checked!
Arrange for a plumbing and heating engineer to visit their property and carry out all of the necessary maintenance checks and ensure that all of their utilities are in good working order. Not only can this prevent any unnecessary disasters such as a boiler breakdown, but ensure that they are working as efficiently as possible. Always advise your neighbour to contact a certified professional, such as 0800 HomeFix in Richmond Upon Thames.
Final words: a little goes a long way
Bear in mind that this article is written under the assumption that you have elderly neighbours and that you get on well with them. Perhaps they’re a nightmare and best left well alone, but on the off-chance that they are lovely and could do with a helping hand from time to time, we urge you to consider some of the above tips mentioned above.
These are difficult times for everyone and a little outstretched hand could be the difference between your elderly neighbour struggling through the winter alone, or getting through it with a smile on their face and hot food in their bellies.