In our very "social" society we have become somewhat isolated, often not knowing much or anything about our neighbors. My wife and I have neighbors who are very friendly, and we speak when we see each other. There are also some in our neighborhood who are easily overlooked.
I just read an article that told of two brothers, twins, who were recently found dead in their home. The decomposed bodies were found side by side in their recliners. Authorities believe the brothers, in their 60's, have been dead since 2011... well over two years. We shake our heads wondering how this could happen, but after the dust settles an even more important question comes to mind. Could it happen in my neighborhood?
Neighbors say the brothers kept to themselves and most thought they had moved and the house was vacant. Had neighbors engaged the brothers on a regular basis, you would not be reading this blog. CAUTION! Before we point fingers, and that is not my intention, I am afraid many of us are not much different. The brothers had no one for over two years to phone, drop by or make any real effort to see how they were doing.
Could it happen in my/your neighborhood? Sadly, yes! So I propose a new kind of neighborhood watch - one that actually looks out for the neighbors, especially the vulnerable ones. We can knock on their door, and do simple things like pull the garbage can up for them. We can treat them, as we would want our parents treated. We can treat them, as we would want to be treated… because one day we will be them, aged and vulnerable!
Elder Source Senior Ministries has a new resource coming entitled, "Who Is My Neighbor?" The booklet and DVD will list five simple steps for church-based, neighborhood-based senior outreach. When completed the resource will be on our website. Let's do our part to make sure the story of the brothers never happens in our neighborhood.
Stan Means, President
Elder Source Senior Ministries