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How to Spot (and Avoid) an Unlicensed Senior Living Facility

Sep 15, 2018 by Comfort Keepers of Montclair and Hasbrouck Heights

Finding the right senior facility for your loved one definitely requires you to do your homework. Comparing prices with ratings and reviews, location, and other aspects can make narrowing down the options quite difficult.

To throw another kink into this already-complicated process, it’s important to be aware of unlicensed homes. They may sell themselves off as having it all for a low price, perhaps even with high ratings (often written by the staff themselves, yikes!), but choosing this kind of facility can put your loved one in physical and legal danger.

Here are some tips on how to spot these phony homes:

Be Wary of a Low Price Tag

Living in a facility like assisted living or a nursing home is one of the more expensive options for long-term care. This being said, if you find a place that advertises an absurdly low price, keep your guard up until you’ve dug deeper.

An unlicensed home gets away by advertising these lower price tags because they often profit from your senior’s benefits, such as their Supplemental Security Income (the money they get from Social Security), Medicaid, and Medicare.

In short, they’re almost guaranteed to financially abuse your love one if they live there.

What’s the Big Deal About a License?

There are other forms of abuse that frequently occur, too.

A licensed home is required to maintain standards and pass audits regularly. Some of these requirements include, but are not limited to:

  • Yearly in-service training for their staff
  • Safe food storage and handling
  • Serving nutritionally balanced meals
  • Supervising daily activities
  • Keeping the property sanitary and in good condition
  • Proper medication management and monitoring

You can probably guess what an unlicensed home can get away with because of the lack of these regulations.

How to Tell if a Home Is Not Licensed

Now that you know what a legitimate facility should have, here are some warning signs of an unlicensed senior home:

  • Residents are visibly unhygienic and ungroomed
  • Living conditions are gross, unsafe, or lack of heating/air conditioning in the building
  • Meal times vary, and food quality is poor
  • Medications are left out/visible, instead of locked up like they should be
  • No fire alarms or smoke alarms that you can see
  • No scheduled activities for residents during the day

It’s important that you always visit a facility yourself before deciding to move your senior there. Look online to see proof of their licensing, too.

If you are concerned about a facility or know that they are in fact unlicensed, call 1-844-538-8766 to speak with the Department of Social Services about the home. Helping take down phony establishments will make long-term care safer for not just your senior, but others as well.

Want to Save Big Without Risking Quality of Care? Consider Home Care

As mentioned above, living in a facility is one of the pricier options for long-term care.

If your senior lives at home alone, consider hiring home healthcare. A caregiver can visit the home weekly, daily, or several can alternate shifts to provide 24/7 care.

Contact Comfort Keepers for a home visit and inspection today. We offer a variety of services to help seniors and their family caregivers. Aging in place will allow your loved one to remain in a comfortable environment and ensuring they’re receiving the care they need, without risking their health or safety.

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