What type of accommodations is available for assisting living residents?
Million Americans live in state-licensed assisted living facilities because they simply did not plan for retirement. These facilities, which provide care and supportive services, are intended to meet the care needs of seniors and people with disabilities while allowing for a greater level of independence and integration in the community than would twenty-four-hour nursing care.
Things you should consider when visiting an Assisted living facility.
The United States has a long history of segregating people with disabilities from others in their communities based on stereotypes about where and with whom they ought to live, the Fair Housing Amendments Act’s prohibition against disability discrimination is especially important in these housing settings designed to serve people with disabilities. However, many facility operators—and even the state agencies who license them—are unaware of residents’ fair housing rights.
Assisted Living Facilities must Provide Reasonable Accommodations to People with Disabilities
To accommodate people with disabilities, housing providers have an affirmative obligation to change “rules, policies, practices, or services” that may be necessary to afford disabled residents an equal opportunity to use and enjoy their housing. The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity emphasized, “[s]ince rules, policies, practices, and services may have a different effect on persons with disabilities than on other persons,
treating persons with disabilities exactly the same as others will sometimes deny them an equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling. To establish a claim for discrimination based on failure to accommodate, one must demonstrate that (1) one has a disability, (2) one’s housing
provider knew or reasonably should have known of one’s disability, (3) accommodation of the disability may be necessary to afford one an equal opportunity to use and enjoy one’s dwelling, and (4) the housing provider refused the accommodation.
Are you Assisting living accommodations reasonable?
The legal definition of reasonable: Accommodations are reasonable if they do not impose a fundamental alteration in the nature of the program or create undue financial or administrative burdens. Moreover, the Fair Housing Amendments Act contemplates an “interactive process,” during which the affected parties work jointly to develop solutions to accommodation requests. Reasonable accommodations are based on the individual’s specific disability-related needs and range from landlords allowing service animals in no-pet housing to cities making exceptions to zoning requirements to permit housing for people with disabilities. However, because many states, including California, limit the types of medical conditions that residents of certain facilities may have and the level of care those facilities may provide
On the one hand, some accommodations, such as a visually impaired resident’s request to have the resident’s admission agreement read aloud to the resident, would not likely implicate the licensing scheme and should be granted independence by the facility.
Does your Assisted living facility have a strict licensing scheme?
On the other hand, some accommodations would contradict the licensing scheme. For example, if a resident needs to take medication
by self-injection, and is trained to self administer injections, but the regulations prohibit the administration of any
medication by injection in assisted living, allowing the resident to take medication could violate the facility’s licensing requirements. A court could find that risking citation, loss of licensure, or similar consequences would constitute an undue burden on the facility or fundamental
alteration to its programs. In this instance, the individual with the disability would need accommodation from both
the facility and the state licensing agency to use and enjoy housing.