Then, as we age, we also are being introduced to another aspect of networking. That is establishing a group of warm, compassionate, and reliable human beings who can parachute in when we are sick. Need a ride to doctor. Or are too weak to pick up our prescription at the pharmacy.
More and more of us are without the support system of blood relatives. Instead we have to put together a network of caregivers. Not that we expect them to provide the services of assisted living. Or to be on call for the long term. Instead they are to be available for those short-term medical emergencies.
For example, in this 100-unit complex on the northside of Tucson, Arizona, there is a man in his 70s. Let's call him Jonathan. His parents are long gone. He's been divorced for decades. Never had children. During the past four months he has been in the hospital several times for breathing problems. Scary.
We pooled our resources and talents once he came home. There is a retired homehealthcare specialist who makes him breakfast. The handyman who brings him lunch. The neighbor with a car who runs his errands. And me who picks him up after he is discharged from the hospital. The cab would have cost him a king's ransom.
This network formed naturally. Jonathan, when he is functioning, is a go-to guy for everything. When I first moved in during early April 2014, he gave me the scoop about where not to shop, the dangerous areas in the neighborhood, and how to prevent traffic tickets.
Jonathan's helpfulness is a behavior all of us without a built-in human support system have to get the hang off. We need others in our lives. The foundation for that has to be set down before any health crisis.