11 August, 2017
There is nothing as wonderful as having someone to smile at and getting a smile in return, the minute you step out of your house. That is the pleasure of having a friendly neighbour. The warm smile of your neighbour when they see you in the morning as you open the door, friendly hellos as you walk down your street, the little fellow who greets you as you enter the lift… these small gestures bring a lot of sunshine into your day. Most of our parents live alone in our hometown as we pursue our careers, or even if they do live with us, we are out the whole day, and so they are again left alone at home. The only familiar faces that greet them when we are way are the neighbours or the maid! This is something most Indians parents long for when they travel abroad to stay with their children. They sometimes cannot wait to get back for that little friendly hello!
It always helps to maintain a good relationship with your neighbours. They represent your immediate family in your absence and when you need them the most for good or for emergencies!
Neighbours can be our immediate support, ready to pay your bill, take you to your doctor or drop you at your hospital. It's done from the goodness of their hearts, with no expectations and with a smile, because they know that you would do the same for them at a moment's notice.
When it is your mother, father, aunt or other loved one living alone, it can be a huge cause of worry. And sometimes, our elders are reluctant to ask for our help or might not even be in a situation to do so. In such situations neighbours will be more than just a big help — they turn out to be lifesavers.
Caring neighbours are an "extra set of eyes" for our elders living independently. They might notice something that could be amiss: mail or newspapers piling up, doors being locked beyond the usual time, problems occurring after maids or home care providers leave for the day, or even abusive treatment by others. To be on the safer side, leave emergency contact numbers with your neighbours and make sure you have their numbers too. And do not think of them only during emergencies, say a hello to them whenever you can!
As a vigilant senior you can also do the same for others. Keep an eye out for any new faces or unusual activity or even when expected routines are broken.
While we might emphasize on privacy in today's society, there are many situations where a neighbours' intrusion proves to be a blessing. So the next time you step out, make sure you spend a minute to say a neighbourly hello!
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