Neighbours Helping Neighbours

Diane Crocker
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Fost says everyone can make a difference

It’s an age-old idea, neighbours helping out neighbours, but it’s one that the Seniors Wellness Committee aimed to reinforce and encourage during its annual Celebrating Seniors event Thursday.

The event, held as part of Seniors Month, took place at St. Michael’s Church and was attended by 108 people.

As guest presenter, Elaine Fost spoke to the those gathered about Neighbours Helping Neighbours.

It’s a program she was first exposed to while working with the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) in Corner Brook.

“Neighbours Helping Neighbours is anybody who does anything at all for their neighbour that can’t do it for themselves,” said Fost following her presentation.

She said that could include giving them a ride somewhere, running an errand for them, helping with a household chore or dropping off food.

“Or even just a phone call in the morning to say ‘hi how are you and how’s you’re day going?’ So any little thing.”

It can be something for a neighbour living alone or for a caregiver whose days are filled with looking after someone else.

Fost said there are a lot of things being done in the community now and that people sometimes do them without even realizing they’re doing anything special.

Still, she said, there is a big need for more.

“There’s an awful lot of lonely seniors here in this community,” Fost said.

And she knows there are a lot of caregivers out there who could use a helping hand.

She’s seen it in her work, and experienced it herself while caring for her mother.

“It was always there with you, because you always had to be on duty for it,” she said

Fost was fortunate because she had her sister to help.

“We sort of helped each other ... we had a support system in place,” Fost said. “But some people are not fortunate enough to have that. They have nobody to help them.”

The purpose of Fost’s presentation for the Seniors Wellness Committee was to give an overview of the program.

Topics covered included communication, family values and beliefs, normal and abnormal changes with aging, abuse, the grieving process, pain and comfort measures, safety issues and nutrition.

She said the Seniors Wellness Committee hopes some of the participants will bring the idea back to their own seniors and church groups and perhaps organize Neighbours Helping Neighbours training sessions to encourage others to help out, or to just use what they’ve learned to help their own neighbours.

“If every person did one thing, every couple of days,” she said. “We can’t change the world, but we can make a difference.”



Organizations: Seniors Wellness Committee, Victorian Order

Geographic location: Michael, Corner Brook

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