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The Importance of Neighbors in a Pandemic

By: Kelly Leighton on in

For Americans sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, more are reporting feelings of loneliness than before.

However, something that is helping people feel better during this time? Their neighbors, showcasing the importance of community for both homeowners and renters.

According to survey results from Nextdoor, “knowing as few as six neighbors reduces the likelihood of feeling lonely and is linked to lower depression social anxiety and financial concerns related to COVID-19.” How are neighbors helping each other?

In COVID-safe ways, emotional support was deemed the most likely to reduce loneliness, like cheering up or listening to a neighbor, said 23%, while another 23% said companionship support like calling a neighbor. Seventeen percent said tangible support, such as mowing a lawn or running errands. Informational support was important to 17%, and this included providing advice or helpful information, while belonging support, such as a neighborhood cleanup or volunteer drive was helpful to 12%.

William Killgore, director of the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Arizona in Tucson, found that 65% of people in lockdown felt loneliness during shelter-at-home, compared to 48% who are not sheltering at home, but feeling similar bouts of loneliness. And a 2018 Pew Center study found that 57% of Americans know some of their neighbors, while only 26% know most of their neighbors, with those Americans skewing older. Rural residents are more likely than those in urban areas to know their neighbors, but those in urban areas are more likely to interact with them.

Perhaps this is a good time to remind your clients to reach out to their neighbors, they may provide more than just a friendly nod.

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