Seniors: Security in an Assisted Living Facility (ALF)

Mar 23rd, 2011 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

A recent episode of theft in an Assisted Care Facility, known to the editors, raises the question of how residents protect their valuables, cash, jewelery and other assets that they may have brought with them when moving in.

The particular facility in question does not offer a means for safe keeping of valuables.  It is left up to the resident.

One of the biggest problems in assisted living facilities, nursing homes and retirement centers is theft.  Has been so for years.  Which suggests a continuing problem has not been effectively addressed. 

As always, SCJ has some suggestions:

  1. Provide a secure centralized safe in which residents can deposit their valuables, with appropriate documentation.  Having large reserves of cash or valuable jewelry in resident rooms can be tempting to employees who are not always well paid.  Since each facility must, of necessity, hire numerous employees to cover two or three shifts each day, it is difficult to track the integrity and honesty of each of them. 
  2. Encourage residents to maintain a locked safe in their rooms, with access limited to trusted family and friends (safe is available at office supply stores for a reasonable price).  If the resident has limited cognitive ability, those with a Power of Attorney need to determine who has access to the safe. 
  3. Ask about the policy regarding access to rooms when they are left unlocked.  If the resident leaves and the room is locked, what staff has access to the room?    Names and dates need to be documented when a theft is suspected.

If a theft is suspected, family members are encouraged to take the report seriously, and do an investigation that includes facility staff as well as appropriate law enforcement authorities.  If the report is deemed without validation, the resident is on notice that he/she made a false report.  On the other hand, if there is documentation of a theft, the facility is on notice that they have a problem.



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