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Age Together Now: Sacramento Seniors Get Help With 'Caring Neighbors' Program

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The holidays can be a lonely time for a lot of people.

"There are some things I can't do myself. My kids have decreed I am not to climb up on the stool to get to the high things, so I don't do that anymore," said Sacramento senior Dorothy.

Dorothy still lives in the same house she's lived for more than 35 years.

"When I moved there I was much younger, so I was the one who was doing the taking care of, not being cared for," Dorothy said.

Now she's getting older and needs help doing some things.

"Karen next door is my transportation to the center," Dorothy said. "David next door will take me to the store sometimes."

Her neighbors have keys to her house – and since her daughters live in Santa Rosa and Oregon, those neighbors are her emergency alert contact.

"It's a security blanket because it keeps me safe," Dorothy said.

The City of Sacramento has a program called Caring Neighborhoods.

"We are asking people to take a look around their own neighborhood [and] take notice of people maybe they know, have seen over the years, if they don't drive anymore," said Martha Paterson-Cohen, the program's volunteer coordinator. "Get to know them, maybe befriend them."

Checking in on a neighbor once a week, or volunteering to do minor tasks, can make a world of difference to someone who's older.

"It helps me feel safe, I feel cared for," Dorothy said. "They're not my constant companions, they each have their own lives, but I know they're there if I need something."

And it's not just helping the seniors in the region.

"[I've] had people tell me when they see the true appreciation on someone's face when they reach out to them, and spend time with them, that it's very rewarding," Martha said.

It also gives them a glimpse to the future.

"They learn a little bit about what it's like to grow older," Martha said.

If you're interested in joining the Caring Neighbors program, head to the City of Sacramento's website.

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