This is a much-needed but little-known one called National Good Neighbor Day, which is held this year on Saturday, September 28. First proclaimed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, the idea actually came from a woman in Montana in 1971. The day is aimed at raising public awareness that good neighbors help achieve human understanding and build strong, thriving communities.
Let’s face it, our lives are busy and cluttered with to-do lists and appointments. And our main connection with others often is through a “like” or an online comment. For one day make a change and do something different. The ideas below are aimed at the traditional “neighbor” but can be tweaked for the senior community. They can be done in the days leading up to the actual observance.
- Offer to watch your neighbor’s child(ren) or pet(s). Whether it’s for a quick trip to the grocery store or a night off, offering to babysit or pet sit will provide your neighbor a break.
- Invite your neighbor (or senior living colleague) over for a meal or out to lunch.
- Deliver baked goods or coffee to your neighbor’s door, or your colleague down the road.
- Host a neighborhood block party or a similar event in your office or senior community. This is a great way to be a good neighbor to the entire neighborhood all at once. Don’t worry — it doesn’t necessarily require that you do all of the planning and execution single-handedly. Just present the idea, get a few neighbors to help you out, and head up your little committee.
- Offer to assist with your neighbor’s yard work.
- Take in your neighbor’s trash from the curb. It will take just a short amount of time but will likely be a meaningful gesture to your neighbor.
- Extend a friendly wave and “hello” to your neighbor.
Another benefit of Good Neighbor Day, besides adding some kindness to the day, is that it teaches the younger generations the importance of being a good neighbor and contributing to the community.