The first winter I was here in Vermont, February rolled around. I had a broken wrist (that happened in January), not enough work, and well…I thought I was going round the bend! I started crying at unexpected (and embarrassing) moments, and I couldn’t keep two thoughts in my head.
I came to find out that February and March are tough times around here. Not enough sun, too much yucky weather, not enough contact with other folks, etc. We’ve just been through nearly a year of this kind of isolation, and for most people, those who aren’t yet able to get a vaccine, this unnatural isolation continues. We are social animals, and part of living a full life involves interaction with fellow humans.
If you’ve been going stir crazy throughout the pandemic, take a moment to pause and realize that for elderly and housebound people, this is their reality even when there aren’t restrictions on getting out and about. Social isolation. I know I’ve written about it before, but it’s a biggie. Social isolation, i.e., not interacting with other people, is quite detrimental to our physical and emotional health. Research shows that social isolation can shorten a person’s life. Wow.
Here at Neighbor to Neighbor, we are doing our best to keep our care recipients engaged. That might mean sending out Valentine’s Day cards to them. It might mean bringing them a personalized birthday cake on their birthday. We know that the vast majority of our care recipients live alone and on very limited incomes. We are searching every day for ways to let them know we are here and we care about them. If you have a neighbor who lives alone, why not bring them a little bouquet of flowers from Shaw’s or a pint of ice cream. Anything. The smallest things often make the biggest difference in someone’s life. And it’s so easy.