Neighbor to Neighbor Dealing with the Problems of Aging Residents

What happens when people begin to notice that their next door neighbors are having difficulty with their mobility, are suddenly at risk of falling or have fallen, are confused about where they are and begin to exhibit this and other types of changed behavior.  Maybe it is a husband or wife and the healthier spouse can no longer cope with taking care of the spouse who is disabled or ill.  Contrary to what people think about the tri-state region, people really do care about their neighbors. 

Oftentimes people know that these individuals have adult children, who live out of town. Naturally, they care about their elderly parents but they often are not aware of what is happening. The neighbors do not know how to contact them or feel awkward because it is not their business to get involved.  What happens when these neighbors have no children at all or even close relatives? 

A Historical Retrospective

Long-time seniors living in cooperatives and condominiums in the Garden State now are the first generation of people who began living independently from their family in any kind of significant numbers. These people are the World War II vets. Their adult children have all probably moved away from the places that they had grown up in. This pattern began after World War II. Prior to World War II, families lived in the same community and took care of aging relatives. They took jobs, married among the community and raised families there.  Aging relatives were not alone and isolated.

During the 1980’s, many apartment buildings converted from rental properties to co-ops and for the most part, these former renters in  their early years, became owners, and purchased the converted apartments.  They were in their 50s and 60s, healthy and living an active lifestyle. 

However, over the years, things changed. The co-op or condo’s oldest residents start to suffer from failing health and become unable to take care of themselves.  These neighbors have gone from being vibrant seniors to those suffering from illnesses such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, heart problems, vision and mobility issues and much more. 

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