advocacyHuman beings have an innate drive for self-preservation. As we grow up our sense of security is directly strengthened by how much control we believe we have over what happens to us. Sometimes we exert control by physical strength. Probably more often though control is through what we know. Recently I wrote about the issues of transitioning to assisted living. The anxiety about such a move can be lessened with knowledge about rules and regulations that govern assisted living. Moving to assisted living does not mean one gives up their rights. It is also important for the older adult and their families to become familiar with the Resident Bill of Rights and what can be done if their rights are not respected.

In Tennessee assisted living facilities are licensed by the State. The regulations that govern these facilities require a Resident’s Bill of Rights (subsection 1200-08-25-.14) to be given when someone moves in. You should read it carefully and ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If there are concerns about privacy, flexibility of a facility’s routine, how it is staffed, who has access to resident’s personal information, etc., ask those questions prior to moving in. If problems come up after move-in, reread the Resident’s Bill of Rights or refer to the Rules and Regulations to see if your concern is addressed.

Advocacy isn’t always easy and some people are more comfortable speaking up than others. And folks are individuals. What feels like overstepping boundaries for one person would not bother another. For example, when visiting clients in assisted living, I have sometimes observed staff to knock on a door but not wait for verbal permission to enter. Some clients are annoyed by this but don’t speak up. Others don’t seem to mind at all. This is an easy matter to clear up. However, left unresolved the practice could result in our client being very dissatisfied with their placement. Advocacy is a big part of what Elder Law of East Tennessee does for our clients so that they can feel truly at home wherever they live. It is part of ensuring our clients have the highest quality of life and care available. Let us know if we can help you too.