I recently came across a news article about elder abuse. It was a horrible account of abuse in a San Antonio home. Although the article didn’t specifically mention it, I am almost certain it was an unlicensed home. The woman was charging $600 a month to allow people to stay there. The article lists the home as a “boarding house.”
Several years ago an “independent living” community in San Antonio caught on fire. It was a multi-level facility and numerous people perished in the fire. Several firefighters gave an account of people being evacuated who could not walk and had to be carried out. Doesn’t sound “independent.” Unfortunately, independent living communities do not have to be licensed. It was further reported the building was not fully sprinkled as it had been grandfathered because of the age of the building.
Years ago, I had a friend who placed her mom in an unlicensed facility. The owner was very nice and said all the right things during her initial visit. My friend’s mom had pretty bad dementia to the point that she could no longer feed herself. After several months, she noticed her mom was losing a lot of weight. She discovered they were basically starving her because they were not feeding her regularly and she couldn’t feed herself. She ended up taking her mom out and placing her in a nursing home. She also reported the lady to the authorities and she was subsequently closed down.
At Argent Court, we are surveyed regularly by Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for health and life safety . Our buildings are fully sprinkled both in the attics and in the main facility. Although we don’t look forward to these surveys, we realize the importance of oversight. It keeps us on our toes and makes certain we are doing the right things and more importantly, keeping residents safe. HHS has a website that you can compare assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities. Of course, this website only has information on “licensed” facilities.
In the state of Texas, you only have to be licensed if you have 4 or more residents. So many people believe that because there are fewer people it will somehow be safer and provide better care. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. It may be cheaper and have fewer people but is it safer? Do they have adequately trained staff? Also, the one thing people a lot of times do not consider are activities. Activities are very important as they keep residents engaged in daily activities.
The bottom line is you have to be an educated consumer. Even at a licensed facility you need to do your homework to make an educated decision about placement. At Argent Court, we welcome your questions and inquiries. Even if you don’t select us, we’re happy to assist you in your search.