Frequently Asked Questions on Rules and Regulations at a Senior Living Facility

Last updated on: Friday, 21 July 2023
  • What You'll Learn
  • Are Pets Allowed in Assisted Living Facilities?

    Pet policies differ for every facility. While some facilities allow pets and others don’t, there are some facilities that only allow specific types of pets. Some facilities may not allow pets but have partnerships with local shelters. This entails the shelter bringing animals to visit which allows for the healthy companionship animals bring without the responsibility that comes along with it. There are also facilities that have pets that live on the grounds that interact with residence and are taken care of by the staff. If having animal companionship is a must, there are plenty of options available out there, so just contact the facility to see how they accommodate this.

    That being said, a facility’s policy should not be the only determining factor to decide whether your loved one brings their pet or not. It is important to take the needs of the animal into consideration. If the animal is used to being outside often or doesn’t do well around new people, it might be best to consider other options for where the animal should go.

  • Are Residents of an Assisted Living Facility Required to Eat Meals at a Certain Time and Place?

    The meal plan, schedule, and location differ from facility to facility, but the majority of facilities require its residents to eat in a specific location during certain times. Though it might not be ideal for some, balanced nutrition and regular eating patterns are important to someone’s health, and it becomes more essential as we age. It also helps with the logistical aspect of caring for a large amount of people. When individuals are expected to show up for meals everyday, it can indicate that something is wrong if they do not show up. It can also allow for staff to make rounds with the residents and ensure everyone is doing good. Furthermore, a designated eating area for dining encourages socializing, so the designation of mealtime and locations provides more benefits than just dietary ones. That being said, some facilities do not have such requirements and allow for residents to eat in their rooms and at times they choose. Be sure to check with any prospective centers to see how they handle meals, so you or your loved one can make a choice that is right for them.

  • Are You Allowed to Have a Cell Phone When You Live in an Assisted Living Facility?

    Yes, cellphones are not only allowed, but should be encouraged. While transitioning to a new home, technology can help bridge the gap of time you spend away from your loved one. Knowing they can reach you anytime and vice versa gives them comfort that a calming voice is only a phone call away. Also, most phone has the capabilities of video calls. This can allow individuals to see their grandchildren and other distant relatives who may not be able to visit regularly. If a facility does not allow the use of cell phones, it may a bad indicator.

  • Can Assisted Living Facilities Accommodate Individuals With Dementia or Alzheimer's?

    Dementia and Alzheimer’s are conditions that can severely affect an individual’s mental state and memory. The early stages of these illnesses can usually be managed in an assisted living setting. That being said, these conditions have a tendency to progress overtime and may lead to the necessity of a higher level of care. Some facilities focus specifically on this type of care and can handle these issues as they progress, and others will recommend moving to a center that can accommodate your loved one’s issues. To avoid having to move your loved one around, you should fully understand the capabilities of the facility you choose in regard to memory-care. Doing so will make it easier on you and your loved one in the long run.

  • Can I Bring My Own Furniture and Decorate My Assisted Living Space?

    Your assisted living space is your home and if you desire to decorate and bring your own belongings, most facilities will allow you to do so. Unlike a nursing home where your room is similar to that of a hospital, an assisted living space is more like an apartment or condo. That being said you should know your plans for furnishing before you start looking for a facility. The cost can differ depending on whether or not you plan to furnish yourself or not, so you can save expenses by knowing your plan ahead of time. This can be a worthwhile option for those who have the furnishing or can afford to do so because you wouldn’t be liable for any damage or wear and tear that may occur since it’s your property.

  • Can I Continue My Home Health Care While Living in an Assisted Living Facility?

    Prior to moving into an assisted living facility, an individual may have a home health care professional helping them with their medical needs. Most centers will allow you to continue the use of home health care while staying at their facility. Depending on your medical needs, the use of home health care aides is necessary to be eligible to stay at a particular center. That being said, utilizing a third-party home health care service needs to be coordinated with the assisted living facility before moving in. This reason for this is because certain states have guidelines to the scope of care a third-party agency can provide. If your medical needs are extensive and you require a large amount of home health care services, it may make you ineligible to stay at certain facilities. If you currently utilize home healthcare services, discuss your treatment plan with prospective assisted living facilities to ensure they are able to accommodate your needs and your services do not conflict with their policies or policies from the state in which you reside.

  • Can I Stay in an Assisted Living Facility If I Require the Use of a Catheter?

    In most cases, having a catheter does make you ineligible to reside in an assisted living facility. That being said, there are different types of catheters. If you can handle your catheter needs independently, then there should not be an issue, and it will most likely not affect your eligibility to stay at an assisted living facility. Some catheters, specifically indwelling catheters, require the need of skilled nursing staff to maintain. If this is the case, it could potentially make you ineligible to stay at an assisted living facility. That being said, there are state specific guidelines that govern an individual’s eligibility in regard to this, so it is best to contact a prospective facility to understand their specific guidelines.

  • Can I Stay Overnight With My Loved One at Their Assisted Living Facility?

    The overnight guest policy can differ from facility to facility and may also depend on the type of room your loved one has. If they share a room with someone, they might not be allowed overnight guest, or they might have to get consent from their roommate to do so. If your loved one has their own room, a good facility will allow you stay overnight with them. There may be a signing in process and rules you have to follow for security and privacy of other residence but that type of protocol is common for quality facilities. If a facility does not allow overnight guest when your loved one has a private room, it is best practice to ask them the reasoning for this. If what they say does not make sense to you or seems off, it might not be the right fit for your loved one.

  • Do Assisted Living Facilities Administer Medication or Does My Loved One Manage Their Own Prescriptions?

    Every assisted-living facility has a different Medication Management Policy, so it is important you understand this before you make your final choice for your loved one. The most common 2 examples of how facilities handle medication management are as follows:

    1. Self-administration with medication reminders: A staff member of the facility goes around and reminds its residents that it is time to take their medications. Though the individual is responsible for taking their own medication, the facility assists in the routine of taking the drugs they need as prescribed.
    2. A nurse or other trained medical professional administers and oversees: This administration is done by either handing out pre-packaged doses or taking the correct amount of medication from the individual’s prescription bottle and giving it to them. Since most individuals in an assisted living facility are not completely reliant on someone helping them, this is the less common of the two medication management policies.
  • Does an Assisted Living Facility Provide Wound Care?

    Wound care is the practice of handling and taking care of wounds and sores that may develop. As individuals age, they may run into issues with their body’s natural ability to heal itself. Due to this, proper care of a wound is important because it may cause infections if not handled properly. This could lead to more serious health issues that extend beyond the wound itself. Most faculties can provide wound care that does extend past simple first-aid techniques. There are some wounds that require vacuum-assisted closure, and this type of care is not regularly offered at an assisted living facility. If you or your loved has a history of needing extensive wound care, it is important to check with a facility to see if they can accommodate for this.

  • How Does Visitation Work in an Assisted Living Facility?

    Every facility has different visitation policies, but in an assisted living facility an individual has more freedom and less guidelines for visitation than a nursing home. Be sure you completely understand each facilities visitation rules and ensure it aligns with the needs of your loved one. Be wary of strict visitation rules and policies that do not allow for residents to have visitors stay overnight. A good assisted living facility should give the experience that your loved one is at their own home. Strict rules can make the transition harder than it already is and can be a red flag for a facility.

  • How Long Is a Lease or Contract at an Assisted Living Facility?

    Leases and contracts vary from facility to facility, but overall, most assisted living facilities are flexible in their options. Individuals’ needs are constantly changing as they age, so it’s hard to tell how long an individual will need a certain level of care. This works both ways, as some people need more care, and others may find they actually need less care. That’s why month-to-month contract are not uncommon. Though some facilities offer a decreased rate for longing contracts/leases, this is not the case with all places. Before signing any lease or contract, be sure to have an idea of your needs and take into account any medical conditions.