It seems that there’s a “national day” for just about everything these days. There’s Apple Pie Day and Siblings’ Day and Take Your Child to Work Day. There’s National Vodka Day and National Golf Day – on the same date. Hmmm. Sounds like the perfect time for a tall vodka and tonic on the 19th hole!
Some are delicious – National Dessert Day. Some honor deserving people – National Emergency Nurses Day. And some are wishful thinking – National Be Bald and Be Free Day. Some are redundant – National Department Store Day. Who needs a special reason to head to the mall? And some are head-scratchers – National Hagfish Day? What is a hagfish? And why would anyone want to give it a “day?”
Well, you get the idea. Many TV talk shows – especially morning shows, looking to fill up some time – often announce and discuss what national day it is each morning. Most make us laugh – or head out to buy whatever edible item is honored. But a few make some very real sense.
And while you probably missed it (I know I did), September 28 was one of those days. It was National Good Neighbor Day. At first glance, it may sound like a stupid day. Touchy-feely. Fluff. And redundant — because people should be good neighbors all the time. Ah. But are they
A lot of people fall into one of two camps – they either assume that they’re being a good neighbor or they hate their neighbors. There’s an old saying, “Good fences make good neighbors,” but let’s hope that one is just a joke. It would be a sad world, indeed, if that’s’ what people thought.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be in your own home to be a good neighbor. Whether you live in a house, an apartment or an assisted living setting, you are sure to have others living around you. And while it takes two to tango, the only person you have any control over, is yourself. So think of it this way – be the kind of neighbor that you’d like to have.
In a residential neighborhood, you may or may not see a lot of your neighbors. Trees, bushes and garages can all get in the way – along with crazy schedules and lifestyles. But if you live in a senior living community, like one of the Discovery Village communities in southwest Florida, chances are good that meet up with your neighbors on a regular basis. And, well, that should be a good thing!
If you live in the independent living apartments, you’ll have your own space – but with neighbors nearby if you want a new friend. Between classes, activities, happy hour and dining, there’s a lot of opportunities to meet other seniors who share the same interests. It doesn’t have to be the person who lives right next door. If you already live there – keep reading to improve your neighborly experience. If you’re thinking about making a move to senior living – or to a different senior community, take a look at Discovery Villages.
Many seniors haven’t lived around other people in along time. Possibly college. You’ll find that there are a lot of really good things about living in an apartment complex. People to hang out with. Someone you can turn to for help. Safety in numbers. Like-minded souls.
But any time you’re living in a group setting, there’s going to be one or two people that might not be your favorites. So in honor of Good Neighbor Day, here are some tips, trick s and reminders on how to be a good neighbor – and make the best of any situation.
Don’t gossip. With a lot of people meeting up for food, drink and activities throughout the day, it’s easy to start discussing things you’ve heard. But think twice. Things aren’t always the way they seem, so don’t gossip about someone else. How would you feel if you were the topic of conversation? And remember what your Mama told you – If you don’t have something good to say, don’t say anything at all!
Don’t pry. Everyone loves a good listener and it’s certainly OK to ask interested questions, but don’t ask rude or intrusive questions.
Be considerate. This one covers a very broad spectrum, but here are a few things to consider:
- Entertainment. Don’t play loud music or have a TV blaring late at night or early in the morning.
- Cell phone use. Don’t have loud or personal cell phone conversation in public areas. No one wants to know your bank information or hear the details of your fight with your daughter. And do you really want them to?
- Wind chimes. If you have a patio or balcony, think twice about hanging wind chimes (if allowed by management). What sounds pretty to you, may be irritating to your neighbors.
- Be mindful of children. Most seniors are indulgent of visits by their neighbor’s kids and grandkids, and we all know “kids will be kids.” But try to keep running, shouting and the beating of drums to a minimum – especially very early or late.
Be clean. In buildings with laundry facilities, be sure to clean up after yourself. Empty lint traps and clean out the laundry tubs. Also be sure to clean up cups, wrappers and garbage after eating in a public area.
Be safe. Be sure to close doors behind you when you enter or leave the building. Don’t open entry doors to people you don’t know or buzz in strangers.
Pick up after your pets. It’s great to live in a place that loves pets as much as you do. But be sure to respect that privilege by cleaning up after them.
Drive carefully. It seems that we all agree – everyone else is a bad driver! Drive slowing in parking lots or garage areas. Leave enough room on either die of you when pulling into a stall and open doors slowly and carefully. Watch for walkers or other moving cars around you. Be careful when backing up.
Be inclusive. Of course there are going to be some people you like more than others. That’s a part of life. But when doing community activities (coffee time or happy hour, for instance) try not to intentionally exclude anyone if there is room for all. This is retirement – not junior high.
Walk in someone else’s shoes. If you find yourself angry, upset or irritated by one of your neighbors, try to see it through their eyes. You may be right. Or you may both be a little right. Either way, unless it’s a matter of great importance, it never hurts to compromise. And never know what may be going on in their life that causes them to act the way they do.
So you may have missed National Good Neighbor Day, but you can celebrate the concept behind it each and every day. You and your neighbors will be glad you did!
Discovery Village at Sarasota Bay offers a variety of senior living programs to keep seniors healthy and active. Learn about our senior living options and amenities today when you contact us at 941.260.0754.