There is no formal ‘Senior Citizens Bill of Rights’, but as individuals, senior citizens are entitled to their rights. However, the senior citizens have little energy left in them in their old age to fight for their rights and therefore, it is the duty of the children to see that their elderly parents are getting what they are rightfully entitled to.
Every right must be claimed to be deemed as a right. There are laws in existence for the running of nursing homes for the elderly and retirement communities. Even if your elderly mom or dad is in an assisted care facility, there are certain laws that are fundamental and expected to be followed by these care facilities too. It is your duty as a caregiver to see that they are following the laws and living up to the expectations.
There are some factors that you must verify before selecting a facility for your elderly parents:
- Ensure that the facility will provide the basic cleanliness and safety. Check out the evacuation plans in place, in case of an emergency situation. Verify whether the evacuation plan is a workable one, considering the fact that the facility may be full of elderly and invalids who may be slow in moving out of the building in case of a fire. Find out if there is emergency power available to operate the automatic doors and elevators so that everyone can get out safely.
- If food is provided by the facility, ensure that meals will be provided three times a day. The meals should be healthy and the food should be delivered to the room if your parent is disabled or injured. There should be some variety in the diet and since there is a separate charge for the food, it is not wrong to expect some quality and variety in the food.
- If your parent has moved to an assisted care facility, they have every right to live as they wish in that apartment, since they have paid for it. However, they have to observe certain restrictions because they are living in a community setting. They should be able to live without any interference from the staff of the facility and have the freedom to select the décor of the apartment or have family and friends to visit.
- Another fundamental right of a senior citizen is to be treated with compassion, respect and dignity. Although this is not a tangible right, how the staff at the facility treats the elderly is an important aspect in the selection of a facility for your parents. The staff of the facility must be respectful and pleasant in their dealings with your parents. If your parent complains of any emotional or verbal abuse, you must investigate and hold the facility accountable for it.
As a primary caregiver, responsible for the well being of your elderly parents, you have the right to remind the assisted care facility of their responsibilities. Ensure that your parents are getting the service and care that they paid for and that they are comfortable in their living quarters and enjoying their stay there.
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