Community Living Campaign helps people build connections – with neighbors, with those sharing common interests, with online friends and family. Since each network grows from what neighbors want, each is unique. Some start with an exercise class, some with computer classes, and some with grocery delivery to older neighbors.
Connections can be as simple as regular phone calls to make sure everything is going well, or can grow into delivering groceries or removing tripping hazards in someone’s home. They provide the support that studies have shown is essential to ending isolation and enabling people to age in their own homes and communities.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Glenda has lived in San Francisco’s Cayuga neighborhood for 45 years, but with her dedicated work as a Presbyterian minister and founder of SafeHouse in the Tenderloin, she hadn’t had much time to get to know her neighbors.
When she retired, Glenda turned her energy and talents to increasing connections among her neighbors. “I realized that I was going to retire, but that didn’t mean I was going to sit in my house and retire from life,” she said. Together with Patti Spaniak, Glenda and her neighbors have grown their intergenerational network to over 85 people.
The Cayuga Community Connectors get together three times a week for senior exercise classes, hold potlucks and tag sales, bring in speakers on healthy aging, organize emergency preparedness workshops and supplies, and much more. They’re doing what Glenda set out to do: “turning strangers into neighbors, and neighbors into friends.”
Just recently, Glenda fell ill. A neighbor saw the ambulance and offered to ride with her. She ended up taking Glenda’s dog to her home. Another neighbor started calling other Cayuga Connectors.
Over the next two weeks, various neighbors sat with Glenda for hours in ER; visited in the hospital; did several loads of laundry; took turns caring for her dog; brought soup, pasta and special casserole dishes; drove Glenda to her follow-up doctor visit; organized a beautiful get well card from the exercise class; and accompanied her on walks as Glenda regained her strength.