Boston Globe: Potential Assisted Living Residents Fear ‘Walk-In Tests’

Elder abuse “horror stories” and “walk-in tests” are often top of mind for seniors weighing a move into assisted living, according to a piece published August 6 by The Boston Globe.

Specifically, some older adults are under the impression that only “depressing” facilities will accept seniors who require a high level of care. That’s the belief of 94-year-old Murray Cooper, who still lives in his own home in West Roxbury with his wife, Ila.

“What they call ‘assisted living’ is a misnomer,” Cooper, who has had friends who have moved into assisted living, told the Globe. “If you need assistance, they don’t want you.”


Similarly, Kathy Vines, a professional organizer from Melrose, Massachusetts, routinely gets calls from her 74-year-old mother in Florida, who worries that if her husband needs to start using a wheelchair instead of a walker, local assisted living communities will reject the both of them.

“In her mind, that is the line she’s chasing, whether it’s real or not,” Vines told the publication. “We’re dealing with her perception of what their options are going to be.”

Recent lawsuits and legislation also are related to these issues. In April, the Fair Housing Justice Center filed a federal lawsuit alleging that four New York assisted living communities were discriminating against people who use wheelchairs, as well as violating federal laws such as the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


In June, a council bill in the nation’s capitol made headlines, as it would have banned the 12 assisted living communities in Washington, D.C., from accepting residents who had been diagnosed with dementia or required hospice care.

Read the full Boston Globe piece here.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson