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What are Assisted Living Residents' Rights?

Get familiar with assisted living residents' rights. Seniorly can help you understand these rights so that you can make sure your loved one is well-cared for.

By Arthur Bretschneider · Updated Aug 08, 2022

Assisted Living Resident Rights 

No matter what type of senior housing community you or a loved one is a part of, you are entitled to certain rights within that community.

That’s good news, because families deserve to know that their loved ones are being cared for properly no matter where they decide to go as they age. That’s why it’s more important than ever to know and understand the laws designed to protect a resident in a senior living community (most types of senior living communities fall under the the category of assisted living, where residents only need a little help with daily living).

There are national standards for senior living communities and most states have guidelines as well. To see what your state covers, click on the link at the bottom of the following section.

A few basic laws on assisted living residents rights include:

  • No discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. These are known as the “protected classes.”
  • It is illegal to segregate a resident in a particular area because of a protected class.
  • All staff must treat residents consistently.
  • Staff need to base their behavior to applicants and residents on facts, not assumptions.
  • Communities that require applicants or residents to be “capable of independent living” as a condition of residency may be in violation of fair housing law. Such requirements discriminate against people with disabilities.
  • Providers must consider any reasonable request for accommodation by a resident with a disability.
  • A “reasonable” accommodation request may include a therapy assistance animal.
  • It is illegal for any staff member to harass, intimidate, threaten or physically abuse a resident.
  • If a resident is harassed by another resident, the provider has a legal obligation to investigate and resolve the problem.

To check out more specific laws governing residents’ rights in assisted living communities in your state, visit

You can also look up violations in assisted living communities with this state-by-state list of websites.

Ask Questions When Considering a Community

Many senior living communities have resident or family councils. These councils are an important part of a community because they provide a place for residents to voice concerns and make sure care and life in the community is the best it can possibly be.

Ask any community you’re interested in joining if they have a council. Or, if you or a loved one is in a community that does not have one, consider starting one. A council can be a good place to establish rules, practices, and values that the community agrees upon.

The State of California Signs New Bills into Law

In 2014, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed 10 bills into law designed to protect assisted living residents in the state.

According to the Sacramento Business Journal, the laws are “designed to address what some say is a crisis of care in assisted living communities across the state.”

The new laws include a wide variety of components, from requiring additional training requirements for owners of communities, to statutory rights of residents in assisted living and other types of communities.

Most importantly perhaps, the new laws give state regulators the ability to suspend admissions to communities that have received violations that pose a risk to the health and/or safety of residents.

Read more about assisted living to learn what to expect, how much it costs, and more:: What is Assisted Living?
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written by:
Arthur Bretscheider
Co-founder & CEO at Seniorly, third-generation senior housing operator with 20 years experience
View other articles written by Arthur

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