|Parkwood Neighborhood Creates a More Caring Community|
In late 2010, Sheridan heard about Project Compassion. It made her remember her experience with caregiving, “Being a caregiver was the most trying and exhausting year of my life. I wish this had been available for me.” She decided to develop a Support Team within her Parkwood neighborhood in Durham.
She met with Project Compassion, attended training, talked with the Parkwood Home Owners Association, and now has twelve neighbors on a team. One of the first opportunities for a team came from a retired couple. BJ was caring for her husband James after his surgery for bone cancer when she was diagnosed with a compression fracture. The team took out the trash, provided meals, helped in the yard and vegetable garden , and simply “visited.”
The projects and socialization rewarded all involved with a shared sense of purpose, community, and great produce! Friendships and a feeling of family have developed. Team member Rey said, “They are motivated to be outside because team members are out with them. They didn’t have the energy or confidence to do these things alone. It’s almost been like medicine for them.”
“The team was a lifesaver. We would have had to sell our home if it had not been for them,” said James.
Another team member Steve suggested his neighbor Paul could use occasional meals during his illness. The team set up a schedule of weekly meals. Steve said Paul was grateful that so many people in his neighborhood cared so much. Team members enjoyed getting to know Paul. After he succumbed to his illness, the team attended his wake. His family shared how much the meals and visits meant to him. They were touched that strangers would be so caring.
Sheridan says, “I no longer feel overwhelmed or isolated when limitations or challenges arise because there is now a team of neighbors ready to offer support! Teams help reduce stress, maintain independence and self‐esteem, give social interaction, and create a more caring, trusting community.”