“I love my neighborhood! Lived here for 50 years, and can’t imagine living anywhere else! I’ve seen all the neighborhood kids grow up right next to my own, and now I see new little ones come trick or treating at my door. See that tree over there? Claire used to climb it with Matt and Carry. Now Carry’s a local cop, Matt has a wife and kids of his own, and Claire is my financial advisor!”
Our neighborhood is the kind that sticks together. Twice a year, our community gathers at Pamela’s house to listen to neighbors-turned-entertainers perform. An 8-year-old plays her favorite piano tune. An awkward high-schooler shines as she plays her clarinet. A college student offers to play his guitar, and a mother and daughter sing a duet from Phantom. All of us remember when the highlight of the evening was 80-year-old Roy playing the flute, and Jim playing jazz standards on his trumpet. We miss those two, but the celebrations continue to this day, and always end in a big sing along of show tunes.
Many of our neighbors never want to leave our community. Indeed, nationwide, most seniors (87% to be exact) would like to ‘age in place’. We want to stay in our homes long after the 8-year-old leaves for Boston College, and the Phantom singer becomes a psychotherapist. We want to walk the neighborhood and remember Roy with his flute who lived in the house over there, or Jim on his boat by the river.
Even in a tight knit community like ours, aging in place needs support. The Gospel of Matthew (25:35-36 to be exact) calls for us to care for our communities:
‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
Indeed, when a neighbor gets sick, we bring a casserole. And when a new family moves in, we bake cookies. I remember when Pamela drove to the pharmacy to pick up antibiotics when I was at home with sick babies. Our neighbors are just a phone call away, but…
As neighbors we don’t know or see the whole story. We keep our debilities from their concerned eyes. Do we see our neighbors when they need to be clothed? Do we know when a fall, or memory loss makes them feel like a prisoner in their own homes? Children move from the neighborhood to pursue their lives, and, as neighbors, we can only do so much.
What a gift it is, to provide in-home care to our neighbors who want to stay in their own homes. To provide nutritious meals in the comfort of one’s own kitchen. To help with the laundry, the day-to-day housekeeping, and rides to the doctor. To gently remind someone to take their medicine, and be neighbor, friend, and almost family to someone who once felt isolated. That’s what AKOTA Home Care does.
As I write, a winter storm approaches many communities along the Eastern seaboard. Let us pray together that neighbors will continue to care for neighbor. That neighbor kids will continue to shovel the snow off the next door neighbor’s drive or bring a pot of soup to someone who can’t get out in the snow. Christ asks us to notice our neighbors. As you visit, if you think they might need a little more help than your community can provide, give us a call.