Last night I sat on my sofa with my wheelchair three feet away, and my trained service dog Zeus beside me and my wife cuddled up to my shoulder asleep I gazed out the window on the ever growing snow field that only hours before was the concrete yard of my apartment building. Yes I was safe, if the heating went out my wife can put an extra blanket on me and call the building or 311, if I had a seizure Zeus goes into action and gets Ella and ultimately I’m safe.
Ella and I make sure each other are fed and we get our meds and we both have phones, but what about the 90 year old Italian lady across the hall or her 80 something sister three floors up or the several dozen Russian only speaking senior citizens in our complex? Who checks on the elderly, the infirmed the pregnant and alone the dis and otherwise abled? Ella and I between us speak nearly all the languages in our building especially Italian and Russian, so we will always and have done during the recent hurricanes checked on all our neighbors but who’s checking on yours?
No ones asking you to go out in sub zero temperatures, just into the hall and maybe the elevator to the next floor or the one after that. Next time you see your widowed neighbor in the laundry or the man or woman in the wheelchair or the girl two floors up who is ready to have a baby and lives alone be careful but give them your number or your email or text address set up a safety net in your building for storms and fires and emergent situations it costs nothing to care.
During hurricane sandy a fire crew going door to door to check on the elderly found the nearly skeletal remains of a woman three feet from her door, she was over ninety she had tried to crawl to the door they suspect. She died of natural circumstances, but they also suspect she had been dead for months.
DEAD FOR MONTHS? Her neighbors should be ashamed of themselves, what would you say if that was your mother?
IT COST NOTHING TO CARE ,REMEMBER THESE PEOPLE HAVE LIVED LONG THEY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO SOCIETY ALL THEY ASK IS THAT THEY CAN LIVE A FULL LONG LIFE.
If you live in a coop building like we do, go to the meetings and ask do they have a plan for checking on the elderly and the disabled? If not start one. A clip board a pad and pen is all it takes and sit by the door as they leave.
If your elderly parent or parents live far from you approach their neighbors and ask them if they would mind checking on mum and dad from time to time, and during holidays when the kids visit your neighbors introduce yourselves get their numbers and let them know you care, they will thank you for it.
Remember a famous man once said a nation is not judged by its riches or military might but how it treats the least of it’s people!