The diversity of activities and programs available is a huge attraction for some older adults moving into communities. Retirement communities provide a myriad of activities, such as parties and happy hours. These provide endless fun and opportunities to socialize and learn new skills. However, some elders desire some degree of privacy, which is normal. Residents have the right to privacy if they want, and communities must respect their wishes. When living in such a community, it is wise to understand your rights to privacy and conditions where this right might not be accorded to you or your loved one.
Learn more about senior living apartment guest rights and what else you should know about your rights to dignity and privacy.
You May Be Monitored for Your Safety
Some guests are at a higher risk of accidents, such as falls, due to aging, illness, or medication. In such cases, it may be necessary to monitor them in case of such an incident. Though this might sound like infringing on one’s privacy on the surface, it is an essential means of keeping a guest safe. Communities are responsible for their guests’ safety, which includes wellness screenings and monitoring. Elderly adults, particularly those in assisted living or who have memory problems, are guaranteed aid and personal care, which may involve medication monitoring, hygiene, and bathroom assistance.
In this case, the team members in the community may compromise some of the individual’s right to privacy to care for them properly. The overarching issue is that the retirement community should explain the degree to which this right might be infringed upon, and you have the right to agree to or refuse this service. The community team members are also not allowed to infringe on your privacy more than they explained.
You might want to simply be left alone in your apartment, but the community team members may discourage you from doing so, even though this privacy is your right. In some communities, residents are monitored to ensure they are not isolated. This is especially so if they require assisted senior living.
According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, older adults are more likely to experience social isolation and loneliness due to chronic illness, hearing loss, and the loss of family or friends. By encouraging them to socialize, people at risk of depression due to this are likely to have a higher quality of life. This works only if the individual socializes frequently. The risk of depression and anxiety is also significantly reduced by participating in activities and making new friends.
Retirement communities always provide you with the right to privacy but also balance this with the need to care for you in the best way possible. If this involves infringing on this right, you will always be informed of it in advance.
A Comparison of Privacy Levels
It is important to note that the level of privacy given to older adults may vary based on the type of care they receive. Here are some options for senior living and what privacy might look like.
A typical independent living community offers amenities and services such as social events and housekeeping. In independent living, residents are mostly able to function on their own, without much personalized assistance so they may expect to retain the same level of privacy they got before moving into senior living.
In assisted living, residents usually need more assistance in their daily routines. Individualized care will be provided by team members. Moreover, team members are more likely to visit them daily for medication assistance, housekeeping, and personal care.
In memory care, older adults living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are cared for. Personal care and medical administration are more frequently provided by team members, along with provisions for safety and security.