How to Look Out for an Older Neighbour

If you have an elderly neighbour, you can play a key role in making their lives a little easier, just by making yourself available and looking out for them. In doing this, you could be providing some valuable help where it is needed and you might also make a new friend.


  1. Image titled Look Out for an Older Neighbour Step 1
    Introduce yourself. If you are new to the area, make a point of getting to know the people who live near you. Knock on the door and introduce yourself. After an initial introduction, or if you've lived in the area for a while but don't yet know your neighbours, say hello when you see them in the street. Do your best to be friendly and approachable from the outset.
  2. Image titled Look Out for an Older Neighbour Step 2
    Ask. If your neighbour is elderly, there may be relatively simple tasks that they are no longer able to do on their own. Don't be shy. Approach them and ask if there's anything they need help with. Many older people are fit, healthy and independent, so be careful not to be patronising, but mention that you are available to help out should they need it. Jobs like changing a light bulb, mowing the lawn or some basic DIY may be things that you can help with.
  3. Image titled Make Sure Your Garbage Bag Fits Your Can Step 2
    Offer to run errands if you're going to the shops. When you are next going shopping or into town, mention it to your neighbour and ask if there's anything they'd like you to fetch while you're there. If you know they find it difficult to leave the house, you might offer to run a few errands for them. Having someone to help with the weekly grocery run may be highly appreciated.
  4. Image titled Prepare for Death of Spouse Step 4Bullet3
    Help with benefit forms. There are a number of benefits specifically available to older people, such as the pension credits, tax rebates or benefits and various other allowances. Check with your local authorities and national government for more details. Some of the forms for these can be long, in fine print and involved, and your neighbour may appreciate help with the process of filling these in.
  5. Image titled Look Out for an Older Neighbour Step 5
    Provide some company. Notice whether or not your neighbour has any regular visitors. If their family lives far away and they don't leave the house much, they may appreciate someone popping round once every so often for some company. You might offer to cook them dinner once a week, or simply pop in for a cup of tea.
  6. Image titled Use Stealth to Your Advantage Step 1
    Read the signs. If you have not seen your neighbour for a while, pay particular attention to some simple signs. Do the lights come on at night? Do the curtains get drawn? Is the garden tended? There may be an accumulation of mail under their door, or more milk bottles than normal on their doorstep. If you have any reason to suspect that your neighbour might be in need of help, knock on the door to check that they are all right.
  7. Image titled Cope With Leaving Someone You Love Step 1
    Follow up if you are concerned. If you are seriously concerned for your neighbour's well-being, or suspect that they may not be able to look after themselves, ask them if they are all right. If you suspect that they need help but they are unresponsive to your offers, then seek advice from your local council. They may be able to send round a non-threatening visitor like a community warden to make sure that everything is all right. Find the number for your local council online or in the phone book.
  8. Image titled Cope With Leaving Someone You Love Step 16
    If they have children or grandchildren play with them too! It really makes them happy.


  • If your neighbour is afraid about security, offer to check the window and door locks and fix any that may be broken. Give your neighbour your contact details, so that they can reach you quickly if anything frightens or worries them.
  • Cook a bit extra or if you usually have leftovers, take them a meal a few times a week. Just ask about food allergies or special diets ahead of time.
  • It can also help to take an elderly neighbour shopping with you if they have no transportation and would prefer to go shopping themselves. You could always arrange a time to meet up again, which will allow both of you to go about your own tasks unimpeded.

Sources and Citations

  • VideoJug A video demonstration of caring for an elderly neighbour. Original source of article. Shared with permission and appreciation.

Article Info

Categories: Aged Care | Neighbors