Are all Assisted Living Facilities the same?
By Nicol Smith, Rambling Oaks, Collin and Denton LIVING WELL Magazines
The decision to leave your home and move into an assisted living community is a difficult and life changing experience. The same amount of thought and consideration should be put into which community is right for you or your loved one as purchasing a new home. Assisted livings are designed to provide seniors assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). These usually include providing three meals per day, transportation, medication assistance, weekly housekeeping and laundry services, activities, and so much more. It is important to note, however, that not all assisted living communities are the same.
In the state of Texas, assisted living communities are regulated by TDADS: Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. The website is: www.dads.state.tx.us. TDADS has a very specific set of health, safety, staffing, and care requirements that communities must follow in order to be licensed. There are four different classifications of assisted livings in Texas: A, B, C, and E. It is important to note that any community with four or more residents must be licensed by TDADS. This is an important distinction to note as there are many residential care homes and “boarding” homes springing up across the state. Many of these only have two or three residents, so they do not have to be licensed.
The most common type of community is a Type B facility. In a Type B community you may need assistance with evacuating the building in an emergency. The staff must be awake at all times while on duty, pass thorough background checks, and have a minimum of four hours of orientation prior to performing any job duties. Direct care staff must complete 16 hours of on-the -job training within the first 16 hours of employment following orientation. This training ensures they can meet residents’ needs ranging from evacuating, medication management, incontinence care, assistance with bathing, grooming, and transferring from a bed to a chair.
Safety regulations are another big difference. Type B facilities must have a commercial fire and sprinkler system installed and regularly inspected. Staff and residents have monthly safety drills and an emergency plan must be updated and available at all times.
All licensing information is available on the TDADS website. It is imperative to visit each community you are considering. Take note of the overall feel of the building, friendliness of staff and other residents. Ask for copies of the menu and activity calendar. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have, it’s your right as the consumer.
Nicol Smith is the director of community relations for Rambling Oaks Courtyard. Rambling Oaks has three communities in Texas – all licensed by the state. Two assisted livings: one in Frisco ID #103845 and one in Highland Village ID# 102151. Rambling Oaks also has an Extensive Care Community in Highland Village that offers rehab and long term care id #: 102738.