As a social work student, I was shocked when I learned about the reality of assisted living facilities in the state of Texas. The number of assisted living facilities in the state is steadily growing. The amount of elder abuse cases also rises.
In order to improve the quality of care for the residents at these facilities there are changes that need to be made.
In this state there is not a set staffing ratio, which leads many staff members to feel tired and overworked. The educational and training requirements are low, leaving staff insufficiently prepared to work with the residents in these facilities.
These factors contribute to the high rate of elder abuse cases. In the year 2016, Texas ombudsmen received 3,598 complaints concerning assisted living facilities.
It is our duty to take care of our family members, and to care for those who have cared for us. However, we may not always be able to provide the type of care that the elderly need, which re-establishes the need for assisted living facilities.
Unfortunately, because of the lack of regulations, I cannot imagine placing a loved one in an assisted living facility.
Texas assisted living can be better. By determining a staff to resident ratio we could help prevent understaffing at the facilities and the overworking of employees. This would help improve the quality of care.
Raising the education and training requirement for staff would also help ensure that they are better prepared to care for these residents.
It is our duty as family and community members to advocate for those who are vulnerable. I ask that everyone who reads this to contact state legislators and urge them to help. We owe it to our elderly citizens.
Klarissa Garcia Mercedes