Can Senior Communities Have Men and Women Room Together?
Q: My sister is 15 years older than me and lives in a small residential care home. They now have her rooming with a male. It is a seven bed facility and the administrator moved them together to make room for a sixth person that wanted to single room.
The rules and regulations for assisted living communities and care homes vary by state, and without knowing your state we can’t say whether this is permitted. Whether or not it’s permitted, it’s certainly unorthodox. It’s difficult to think of any residential situation – from college dorms to care homes – where adult men and women who are strangers are required to room together.
If you want to talk to a local official who knows the regulations, visit www.eldercare.gov, enter the city or zip code of your sister’s care home is, and pull up the phone number number for your Local Area on Aging. Make an appointment to speak with your local Long-term Care Ombudsman. She or he can tell you if this practice allowed in your sister’s locality.
Regulations aside, “acceptable” depends on you and your mother, and also your mother’s roommate. If the living situation makes your mother uncomfortable or the gentleman uncomfortable, it’s probably not acceptable.
Assuming it is allowed but it makes you uncomfortable, you might consider speaking with the owner or administrator to insist that your mother be roommates with another female. If the community is not cooperative, you may have to find a new home for her, but we certainly hope it doesn’t come to this.