A story appearing in Thursday’s New York Times delivers a largely unflattering assessment of the nation’s assisted living communities. The piece suggests that the sector is growing too rapidly for adequate regulatory oversight to keep pace.
It is a conclusion with which most senior living operators are likely to disagree.
Uneven regulation is one of the field’s major challenges, the story notes. The piece largely focuses on dementia care — the fastest-growing service in the sector — and points out numerous alleged shortcomings.
In California, 45% of assisted living communities have violated one or more state dementia regulations during the past five years, according to the article. Three of the 12 most common California citations in 2017 were related to dementia care, the story notes.
The author added that almost a quarter of the assisted living communities in Texas caring for residents with Alzheimer’s disease “have violated one or more [related] state rules.”
Fred Steele, Oregon’s long-term-care ombudsman, is quoted as saying quite a few colleagues in his office believe “many facilities do not staff to the level necessary to meet the unanticipated needs of residents, especially medical needs.”
Lindsay Schwartz, an associate vice president at the National Center for Assisted Living, counters the story’s generally negative tone. She said operators face a unique and difficult challenge: balancing residents’ safety and independence.