Life in the city can be richly rewarding, but caring for a loved one in an apartment setting presents unique challenges. What follows are ways to manage some common issues.
- Steer clear of clutter. Small spaces get cluttered quickly, and clutter, especially on floors, can cause trips and falls. Keep your parent’s apartment tidy or employ a cleaning service.
- Accessibility. If your parent lives in a walk-up or has recently begun to use a cane, you may be concerned about stairs. Jeffrey Jue, a physical therapist with VNSNY CHOICE, suggests that your parent take a few practice runs while you or another caregiver is present to become more comfortable. Going up stairs can be physically more demanding than walking a few blocks, so remind your parent to take a rest before becoming short of breath.
- Noise. The sound of vehicles, barking dogs and construction work is a common nuisance to city dwellers. Be sure noise codes in your area are not being violated. Follow this link to learn more about New York City’s noise codes. A white-noise machine or indoor tabletop fountain may be helpful in muffling sounds from neighboring apartments and can add a dose of serenity.
- Getting outdoors. Research has shown that seniors benefit from spending time outdoors, with positive changes to mood, sleep patterns and overall health.* The city is brimming with green space. Regularly visit your nearest park or community garden, or seek out a friendly neighbor who can provide access to his/her yard.
- Neighbor issues. A homebound person may find that common or acceptable activities become a source of stress over time. If your parent complains about neighbors’ activities, speak to them about your parent’s concern and ask them for their help in finding a solution. If they are not responsive, talk to the building management or condo/coop board.
New York State publishes a helpful Housing Guide for Senior Citizens that addresses many apartment living issues.