During the pandemic a new word is spreading around the world almost as quickly as the virus itself: Caremongering. Caremongering is a response to the scaremongering that some feel is prevalent these days due to the pandemic. Caremongering groups are popping up all over to help vulnerable groups or people struggling due to the pandemic. Some are aimed at helping seniors and other vulnerable people get necessities, like food and medicine. Some groups are trying to find ways to support small, local businesses stay open during the pandemic. Other groups try to help with the anxiety and depression caused (or exacerbated) by the pandemic’s isolation.
What does this have to do with condos? Condos are small communities and there are many opportunities for caremongering within the community. Before we get into some ideas, let me be clear about a few things. I am not encouraging people to engage in activities that endanger themselves or any other resident. Anyone participating in these activities must take the necessary precautions to avoid the spread of the virus and comply with any orders or recommendations made by public officials. (Sorry for the disclaimer, but remember this is a blog written by lawyers).
Many condominiums host a variety of social events each month that allow residents to interact with each other. Physical distancing makes this impossible. Fortunately, there are other ways for the residents to socialize without the risks associated with social gatherings. I understand that some condominiums have moved their events online. For example, the condominium could host a wine and cheese party using one of the popular online meeting services, like Zoom. People can see and hear each other without being in the same room. Other condominiums have opened the chat function on their website or online portal (with a director or manager acting as moderator). Others are trying to arrange for online games and tournaments among residents to pass the time. These are all great ideas with very little risk involved.
There are stories all over social media about a condominium in Toronto where the residents all went out on their balconies at the same time and made noise to support health care workers. Other communities are doing similar events. This is the type of story we all need right now!
Volunteers & Helpers
Some people have a strong urge to help during tough situations. It is how they cope. A good example of this is when neighbours help each other get groceries or other necessities. A resident self-isolating due to a medical condition or recently returning from a vacation must stay inside their unit. This can make it nearly impossible to get food or other necessary items, especially if their condominium is preventing deliveries beyond the lobby. Another resident could bring these items up from the lobby or go to the grocery store. The resident could leave them at the other resident’s door for a contactless delivery. This could work for dogwalking as well.
With the warmer weather approaching people will want to go outside. If you have owners with a green thumb, let them do some weeding, watering, or other minor gardening that doesn’t involve sharing tools with other residents (and so long as they maintain their distance). They get outside and get some fresh air, while also saving the condominium some money to have the work performed by a professional. (Another disclaimer: Ensure landscaping professionals are doing the heavy lifting, tree trimming, and other more dangerous work).
While not necessarily caremongering, I read a story recently about an apartment taking steps to help vulnerable residents that is worth sharing. The manager created notices for the doors that allow residents to notify others if they are self-isolating or medically vulnerable. The idea is that residents can choose to put the sticker on their door so that other residents know that they are self-isolating and not to knock on their door.
I’d love to hear from you with other ideas for caremongering in condos.
Stay safe and be kind!