Seniors in Cities: Protecting Aging Residents

{2:50 minutes to read} City dwellers living in multiunit housing have unique challenges. Every building has its own cast of characters, each making lifestyle choices which may or may not affect their neighbors. Nonsmokers may take issue with smokers, particularly those who smoke heavily. Non-pet owners may not appreciate pet owners, especially those who are unable to properly care for or control their pets. Among the many needs and desires of residents that a building manager may juggle, the special concerns specific to aging residents may be the most challenging.

Understanding the physical and/or mental health issues of seniors needs to be a priority. Slowly escalating medical conditions such as poor sight, memory loss, or muscle deterioration are often coupled with more immediate concerns such as the loss of a family member, an accident, or a sudden illness. Whatever the cause, the result is that some seniors may be unable to maintain their lifestyles and apartments the way they once did without assistance.

The three major problem areas that affect habitability issues are clutter, cleanliness, and safety:

Clutter can build up, resulting in:

  • Fire hazard
  • Increased potential for accidents
  • Problems with cleanliness

Less frequent cleaning can cause:

  • Mold or mildew
  • Unpleasant odors in common areas or neighboring units
  • Vermin infestation

Memory loss can lead to:

  • Pots left unattended on the stove
  • A resident wandering the halls
  • Greater demands on the building staff

Additional lifestyle factors, such as pets and smoking, should also be taken into account. Seniors’ health is often compromised by other people’s pets and smoking or they themselves are the cause of similar problems for other residents.

Ideally, in these situations, the senior resident would have family who could step in, either to assist personally or to employ someone to be a caregiver on their behalf. However, the senior may lack close relations or their family may not be able to help, whether due to busy lives, location, psychological issues, or not having the appropriate skills or the financial resources. Building managers and owners can provide a great service to senior residents, and to all residents, simply by being aware of the issues and being alert to changes in the behavior of those whose circumstances may be deteriorating.

While doormen, superintendents, and neighbors will often watch out for and provide support for aging residents, professional help may be the missing piece needed to allow seniors to live comfortably as a part of the building community. If seniors have the guidance of an Aging Life Care Professional (also known as a Geriatric Care Manager) to help with medical, safety and caregiving issues and the assistance of a Daily Money Manager (or Financial Organizer) to make sure that day-to-day financial and legal affairs are in order, elderly people can live out their lives in the comfort of their own home.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at Eddy & Schein in New York at 212-987-1427 or in Los Angeles at 626-395-7572.

Rebecca Schein Gideon Y. Schein,
Rebecca R. Eddy
Gideon Y. Schein

Eddy & Schein
212. 987.1427


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