An older gentleman we know has lived in the same house for many years. He was on friendly terms with a couple of his neighbours, they would say hello if they saw Harry and sometimes chat over the garden fence, but on the whole everyone kept themselves to themselves and got on with their own lives
Recently Harry had a fall in his garden – he shouted for help and luckily, one of his neighbours, Tim, heard and went to assist. An ambulance was called and Harry was taken to hospital. Tim secured Harry’s house and asked if there was anything else he could do to help. Harry asked Tim to contact his Circles volunteer to let him know what had happened.
Tim kept in touch with the volunteer to see how Harry was doing. Unfortunately, Harry had broken his hip and required surgery and a long hospital stay for rehab. Harry had an aviary in his garden and Tim said that he would be happy to look after the birds during Harry’s hospital stay. Other neighbours also rallied round to help with the birds and to keep an eye on Harry’s house and keep on top of the garden
Harry was very relieved to know that his birds were being looked after and that his neighbours were keeping an eye on his house too.
Now Harry is home, his neighbours have continued to support him. They pop in regularly and keep an eye out for him. Harry is pleased to have made some new connections in his community and reassured to know that he has people on hand in case of emergencies.
Tim told me that he was aware that Harry lived alone but felt awkward about visiting or asking Harry if he needed help before his fall as he didn’t want to be intrusive and was not sure if offers of help would cause offence. Tim has said that he and Harry’s other neighbours are glad to know that Harry wants their support and they are very happy to be a part of Harry’s support system.
People generally mean well and want to offer help where they can, however, as in Harry’s neighbours’ case they are not sure where to start and didn’t want to seem like they were overstepping boundaries or being pushy.
Once Harry’s neighbours were given ‘permission’ to help they were all more than happy to rally around. Tim told me that he is glad to be a part of Harry’s support circle now but wishes that he had had the confidence to ask Harry ‘How can I help you’? sooner.