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What are Assisted Living Residents' Rights?

Learn more about assisted living residents' rights. Seniorly explains what you need to know so that you can ensure your loved one is well-cared for.

By Arthur Bretschneider Updated on Jul 10, 2023
Reviewed by Ashley Quiambao · Reviewed on Dec 15, 2022

Assisted Living Resident Rights 

No matter what type of senior housing community you or a loved one is a part of, individuals who reside in assisted living facilities 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 which protect residents in an assisted living facility include:

  • A resident cannot be discriminated against based on their race, color, religion, national origin, gender, familial status, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. These are known as the “protected classes". Discrimination can include, but is not limited to, segregating residents or treating residents differently because of their membership in a protected class. 
  • Staff need to base their behavior toward 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. An example of an accommodation is a therapy assistance animal.  
  • It is illegal for any staff member to harass, intimidate, threaten, abuse or neglect a resident.
  • If a resident is harassed by another resident, the provider has a legal obligation to investigate and resolve the problem.

Some examples of other resident rights you can expect to have include: 

  • Right to privacy and confidentiality.
  • Right to receive visitors.
  • Right to leave and return home.
  • Right to complain or present grievances.
  • Right to choose health care providers.
  • Right to receive adequate and appropriate assistance with activities of daily living.
  • Right to be fully informed of your medical condition and participate in any proposed treatment plan.
  • Right to manage financial affairs.
  • Right to send and receive mail.
  • Right to proper notification of rate increases and/or requests to move out of the facility.
  • You can also look up violations in assisted living communities with this state-by-state list of websites.

Ask Questions When Considering a Community

 Before moving into a facility, you should ask for and review a copy of the facility’s resident rights and responsibilities.   Many senior living communities also 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.

If You Are Concerned about a Violation of Rights

If you have concerns that that the rights of you or a loved one are being violated, it's important to start with open communication. Ask for a meeting with the community administrators or leadership team and clearly document your concerns in writing. Communicate with your resident or family council as well to ensure that all parties are informed.  

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%20Bretscheider 1

Arthur Bretschneider is CEO and Co-Founder of Seniorly. As a third generation leader in the senior living industry, Arthur brings both deep compassion and a wealth of practical experience to his work at Seniorly. Arthur holds an MBA from Haas School of Business and has been featured in the New York Times and Forbes Magazine as a thought leader in the senior living space. Arthur is a passionate and vocal advocate for improving the lives of older adults through community, and believes strongly that structured senior living environments can positively impact the aging experience.

To learn more about Seniorly's editorial guidelines, click here.

View other articles written by Arthur

Reviewed by:
Ashley Quiambao

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