There’s no doubt that older and vulnerable residents are at increased risk during a flu season or national health crisis. While many of your tenants may worry about getting sick from the common cold, influenza or the coronavirus, exposure is more likely to be life-threatening for certain groups:
- Elderly residents
- People with weaker immune systems
- Pregnant women
- Young children
- Smokers and ex-smokers (increased risk of pneumonia)
Consider a few acts of kindness for at-risk members of your community. More than just a gesture, even one simple act might help prevent residents from getting sick or spreading something to others. After all, a disease like COVID-19 makes it especially unsafe for some to leave their homes — the risks and consequences of getting sick are just too great.
Here are some ways you can help older and vulnerable residents, even when you’re away from the property or practicing social distancing.
1. Make sure they get your emails
Send emails straight to your residents’ portals. They can even get notifications on their phones, but not everyone keeps their notifications turned on. If you’re not sure whether older or vulnerable residents are getting your communications in a timely manner, send a test email and ask them to reply.
As part of this email:
- Update emergency contact information
- Add new information to your Activity Feed
- Ask if there’s anything you can do to help
- Set up a check-in schedule if they agree to it
Pro tip: Utilize two-way texting, making it even easier to stay in touch with your residents.
2. Offer to run errands
If you have the time and ability to run errands for your older or vulnerable residents, they will certainly appreciate it. If it’s not safe for you to do this, we recommend checking in with them and discussing other ways you can get them the temporary help they need.
Here are a few errands you can run for elderly, disabled or sick residents:
- Get their mail
- Pick up prescriptions
- Do some light grocery shopping for the essentials
- Coordinate other actions with their emergency contacts (get permission first)
Pro tip: Leave your pickups at their door — do not enter the premises.
3. Recruit members of your community
You can coordinate community efforts using your property management software.
Some residents might only use their portals to pay rent and request maintenance, but for you, Breeze is a great communication tool. It allows you to safely recruit help while practicing social distancing.
4. Make shared docs your friend
Create a shared online spreadsheet (Google Docs is free). This makes it easy for residents to post supplies they are willing to share, items they need and errands they are willing to run for older and vulnerable residents (e.g., pharmacy runs, grocery shopping).
Pro tip: Consider gift cards or other small incentives for those who help. This is also a great way to support local businesses during tough economic times.
What are you doing to help older and vulnerable residents?
If you’re doing something meaningful to help your community, let us know on Facebook. We’re always looking for new ideas and would love to share your story across social media or feature your community on The Breezeway.