Dear State Affiliates,
Some of you may have seen the recent NY Times article that was critical of memory care communities. Argentum drafted the following talking points:
Recently we became aware of a
Kaiser Health News
article critical of the safety and accountability of senior living providers offering memory care services. The
article was published in the New York Times online yesterday
and is expected to be published in the newspaper’s print version this weekend.
Argentum and its members continue to advocate for seniors’ dignity and respect and are proud to offer assistive services benefiting their health and wellbeing in senior living environments with professional, caring staff.
In light of the article “Dementia Patients Fuel Assisted Living’s Growth. Safety May Be Lagging” and its reporting, please find below some talking points to address the issues raised.
More than 800,000 older adults in more than 30,000 senior living communities are provided safe environments and a vibrant lifestyle every day.
Assisted living communities are regulated in every state, including surprise inspections by regulatory officials. Argentum, its members, and state partners support enforcement and sanctions for communities that violate state laws and regulations.
Assisted living, including memory care communities, have proven extremely popular with residents and their families as a less restrictive, community-based alternative to nursing homes. As the rate of Alzheimer’s disease increases among seniors across the nation and doctors search for a cure, assisted living can provide a safe, home-like environment promoting dignity and respect with trained staff members who are knowledgeable about the condition and its symptoms.
By 2050, the population of Americans 85 and older will triple. Falls, heart disease, osteoporosis, and dementia are common chronic conditions at age 85 – the age of a typical senior living resident. Senior living providers understand that the aging process is universal but not uniform. Through different levels of care, senior living provides an option for those seniors and their families who wish to experience a community-setting in a social environment that seeks to manage risks and to prepare caregivers, residents, and families to make informed choices.
Argentum is committed to resident safety. It is always our goal to have zero negative outcomes; Argentum and its members remain committed to ensuring safe environments for all residents. We support additional training and certification for senior living staff. Many Argentum member communities provide dementia-specific training that often exceeds state requirements. Argentum launched a pilot program of professional standards for operators of senior living communities, complementing the state laws and regulations governing the operations of those communities. The standards represent an essential part of demonstrating the senior living industry’s commitment to excellence in consumer and resident rights, quality improvement, workforce practices, and regulatory compliance.
James R. Balda