Saturday morning, a big complex with senior-apartments. The old lady opens the door and invites me to come in: “I received the flyer about how you, as a city-council-member want to know our opinion. I’ll show you that you can live from a small pension and even save some euro’s every month”. While slowly walking to the living room I see her limp a bit. Inside she turns out to be a smart and competent lady in administration and wise spending. Better then the lady next-door, who walks like a lapwing and is not dependant on the cleaning-help to do the shopping en get money from the bank. But she does not know how to deal with bureaucracy and computers and she lives in poverty.
Another lady in the flat is an excellent cook and feels lonely, behind the next-door somebody has hobbies she would like to share with others. Another can teach interesting skills or start a cooking-club.
After 7 hours of visiting about 15 of those mostly lonely or alone people, I realise that he community of people in these flats could be a lot more self-sufficient. And also become a happier place to live. And the city could save a lot of money on care.
The majority of people does not know how, when and where to ask for services and support. They usually when their situation escalated. And because most people rather help then depend on the help of others: most residents don’t know how, when and where they can add value and offer their help.
Learning how to become part of a happy and self-sufficient community is like learning to drive a car. You are free to drive wherever you want. But you need a drivers license first to know how to do that. And a network of petrol-stations from which you can choose, depending on your route.