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Understanding assisted living and what to watch out for

Assisted living isn't just for people who are growing older. It's also helpful for individuals who can't return home after an accident or after a hospital stay. If they need little care on a daily basis, then assisted living might be the best option.

When a person enters assisted living, it's normally only for a few years. Some people move on to new assisted-living facilities. Others no longer need support, so they can go home. Many others leave due to the need for hospitalization or because of financial issues.

What rights do residents have as assisted-living patients?

As residents, individuals retain a right to independence. The point of the facilities is to maximize the person's autonomy, privacy, safety and dignity. There is an emphasis that assisted-living facilities should provide on community and family, helping people prevent themselves from becoming too isolated.

Some of the rights patients have in assisted living include:

  • Self-control over finances
  • Privacy
  • Freedom to interact inside and outside the facility
  • Being treated with respect
  • Being able to continue practicing or to stop practicing religion
  • Freedom from abuse or neglect
  • Representation in councils for residents
  • Keeping personal possessions

If a person's rights are violated when in assisted living, they can speak up. It is their right to be heard and to have the situation made right. Whether the impact causes pain and suffering or the patient struggles with harassment and neglect, they deserve to be treated kindly and with respect moving forward. If the facility is not up to the standard expected, then the patient may wish to move to another and file a lawsuit.

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