Monday, February 25, 2013

What Safety Features should you look for in an Assisted Living Facility?

By Bob Gregory

Assisted Living Facilities are a great way to extend your independent living and still get the extra help you need with daily routines.   Whether you are considering Assisted Living Facility for your elderly parent or yourself, there are several safety features you will want the Facility that you choose to have in place.  Please don’t assume that all facilities have the same safety features as they may vary greatly from facility to facility.  However, there are certain safety features that all facilities must meet to pass the Fire Marshal’s inspection but even those may vary from State to State.  To be sure, you need to inquire and observe as you visit potential facilities.

Here is a list of safety features you may want to inquire and observe:

  • Are the hallways and common areas equipped with hand rails?
  • Are the floors in the rooms, hallways and common areas safe for walkers, wheelchairs and canes?
  • Is there plenty of lighting both during the day and night?
    Blue Sign for Disabled Automatic Door
    Blue Sign for Disabled Automatic Door
     (Photo credit: QuickLunarCop)
  • Are the bathrooms equipped with matting, safety bars and signaling devices?
  • Are seats for the shower provided or installed?
  • Do the rooms/apartments have call devices for the resident to call for help?
  • Are there loose rugs or mats in residents’ rooms or common areas that can cause slips and falls?
  • Do doors automatically open for residents who use walkers or wheelchairs?
  • Does the facility provide call devices for residents when they are not in their rooms and need help?
  • Do the doors and windows have alarm/chirp devices to notify staff a resident has wondered out?
  • Does the facility use security cameras to monitor exits, halls and common areas?
    Stair lift
    Stair lift (Photo credit: dominiccampbell)
  • Does the facility have onsite security guards or scheduled monitoring by local police?
  • Are the parking lots well lit and easy to access?
  • Are hot water heaters set at an adequate level to prevent scalding?
  • Are residents required to use antibacterial lotion when attending dining or snack functions?
  • Are their lifts on stairs for those who cannot navigate stairs?
  • Does the facility have areas where the floor is at different levels requiring a step up or down?
  • Are elevators monitored and do they have call features?
  • Does the facility monitor rooms to make sure plugs are not over tasked with extension cords?
  • Does the facility have a backup generator for power outages?
  • Does the facility conduct regularly scheduled safety drills?
  • Does the facility have a written emergency evacuation plan?
    Shower Seat
    Shower Seat
    (Photo credit: BigGreenYamo)
  • Do caregivers have emergency call devices should they need assistance with a resident?
  • If a resident leaves the premises, does the facility have a written policy for documenting when the resident left and when they will return?
  • Does the facility provide a locking drawer or safe for valuables?
  • Are visitors required to sign in and out?
  • Are visitor badges required?

You should not only ask the questions but observe the features as well.  Have the person who conducts the tour point out the safety features and explain why they may or may not have some of the features listed above.  You will also want to observe residents who are confined to a wheelchair to see if they are left alone in common areas or is someone (caregiver or resident) with them at all times?  Take note of how well the staff seems to know the residents, as well as any visitors, that may be on premise during your tour.  Be sure to walk the entire facility and go in and out of each door to the outside.  Make sure the outdoor areas are secure by fencing or other structures to deter strangers from coming up to residents.  Finally, ask about the facilities safety record and ask if the police have been called to the facility for any reason within the last twelve months.  Don’t be discouraged if the facility you tour does not have every safety feature listed—some may have more and some may have less—just make sure they have the safety features you deem most important to you or your elderly parent.

If you find you need an Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home or any other type of Senior Facility, I hope you will consider
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about. 

We look forward to reading yours.

Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of At, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If find you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post! The blog would be beneficial to caregivers wanting to take their parents or seniors to Assisted Living Homes.