What Security and Safety Features Will You Find in a Typical Assisted Living Community?
One of the more frequently cited reasons why people elect to move into an assisted living community is because they want to enhance their overall security and safety. In addition, adult children typically have this same concern for their aging parents. Seniors can be particularly vulnerable to injury and crime. These risks often are enhanced when an older individual lives alone. If you are considering moving to assisted living for yourself or for your senior parent, you may wonder what security features are commonly found in an assisted living community.
In this regard, we address several key issues associated with security and safety in an assisted living community:
- Around-the-clock caregiver presence
- Comprehensive security systems
- Nighttime checks
- Fire protection protocols
- Resident mobility
Around-the-Clock Caregiver Presence
One important security (and safety) feature of an assisted living community is the around-the-clock presence of a caregiver. From small residential communities with fewer than 10 residents to extensive facilities with hundreds of residents, no matter the time of day or night, there will be an appropriate number of caregivers present. (In a small community, that number may be one – but there will always be a caregiver present.)
The fact that there is always a caregiver or an appropriate number of caregivers on site enhances the overall security and safety of the community. In addition, it also works to ensure that a rapid response to a security or safety issue can occur as needed.
Comprehensive Security Systems
An assisted living community usually is outfitted with a comprehensive security system. Such a system includes appropriately placed cameras and emergency pull cords or buttons throughout a community for use by residents in the event of an emergency. A growing number of communities also utilize personal response alarms, devices that a resident can keep in his or her person.
Cameras in an assisted living community are typically placed around the exterior of a facility. In addition, security cameras usually are placed at key locations inside an assisted living facility. This includes camera placements in hallways and common areas.
Privacy is a primary concern in an assisted living community. A person’s living quarters are considered off-limits for security cameras. In addition, no restroom anywhere in an assisted living facility will be outfitted with a security camera.
As a matter of practice, an assisted living community usually ensure that residents and visitors are fully aware of where cameras are placed and that they are in operation. Many assisted living facilities do not outfit their security cameras with an audio feature.
One of the primary objectives of an assisted living community is to provide a resident with an optimal amount of independence. With that duly noted, if needed, staff can perform checks on a resident during the night to ensure that no issue needs attention. For example, if a resident is experiencing a temporary health issue, a caregiver can be scheduled to check on that individual during the night to ensure that no assistance is needed regarding that medical condition.
Fire Protection Protocols
When protecting residents against fire injury, several protocols are common in an assisted living community. Some of these protocols are required by statute or regulation.
A fire alarm system is an element of these protective protocols. In addition, depending on the size of a particular facility, state law or regulation may require a fire-retardant system to be installed in an assisted living community. This might include a sprinkler system. Even though not required by state law or regulation, some smaller assisted living communities install a fire-retardant system of their own volition to optimize the overall safety of their residents.
An assisted living community will also conduct drills involving residents on a regular basis. This works to ensure that a resident remains up to speed on evacuation plans, that staff members are similarly prepared, and to identify any flaws or shortcomings that exist or have developed regarding an assisted living community’s emergency evacuation plan.
When it comes to resident safety and security, close attention is paid to resident mobility. A person must meet established minimal mobility requirements to qualify for residency in an assisted living community. These mobility requirements center in part around a person’s ability to evacuate a facility in case of an emergency.
When considering a particular assisted living community, a senior or family member should inquire about what is in place regarding security and safety matters. It is important to fully understand what security and safety features are in place in a particular assisted living community before a person takes up residency.