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Caring for a Loved One in an Apartment


Living in a city has many benefits, but caring for someone who lives in an apartment can present special challenges. Here are some common issues you may encounter:

  • Clutter. Small spaces get cluttered quickly. Objects on floors are especially dangerous because they create the risk of tripping and falling. For example, be careful to put shoes away instead of letting them pile up by the door.
  • Accessibility. If your loved one lives in a walk-up or has recently begun to use a cane, you may be concerned about stairs. To become more comfortable, have your loved one practice going up and down stairs while you or another caregiver is present. Going up stairs can be physically more demanding than walking a few blocks, so remind your parent or loved one to take a rest before becoming short of breath.
  • Noise. Loud sounds like vehicles, sirens, and construction can’t always be avoided. But 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 may help muffle sounds from neighboring apartments.
  • Getting outdoors. Research shows that spending time outside can help you sleep better and improve your mood and overall health. Help your loved one make regular visits to a nearby park or community garden, or seek out a friendly neighbor who has a yard or garden apartment.
  • Neighbor issues. If your loved one complains about neighbors’ activities, speak to them about your loved one’s concern and ask them for their help in finding a solution. If they are not willing to work with you, talk to the landlord, building management, or condo or coop board.

New York State publishes a helpful Housing Guide for Senior Citizens that addresses many apartment living issues.