Not long ago, we read about a story that hit the headlines in Virginia of an Assisted Living home that was being shut down for abuse, appalling living conditions, and unlawful confiscation of federal funds. Of course, the shocking part is, the residents of the Assisted Living community had no idea that their treatment was subpar.

For instance, the KTLA interviewed a few of the residents of said Assisted Living home. What they found was that the residents weren’t simply seniors, but instead a random assortment of people, many of whom were previously homeless or in need of drug rehabilitation. The interesting part, and the reason the Assisted Living home was under investigation in the first place, was because the one thing all tenants had in common was that they all received federal funds (those funds could be Medicare, Medicaid, VA benefits, you name it).

In addition to this, the investigation (not the residents, mind you) determined that the Assisted Living facility in question was overcrowded and that people were living in the attic and storage spaces. What’s worse was that people hardly had mattresses at all; many slept on thin pads or linoleum surfaces. But again, none of the residents ever said anything remotely bad about their living conditions. In fact, most appreciated the facility’s amenities and praised the owners.

When interviewing the various residents, news reporters determined that people would receive their checks (and/or food stamps) in the mail and they would give those payments to the Assisted Living owners. In return the facility would provide shelter, food, and even transportation to doctor’s appointments or other facilities – all of which are good things and provided by all Assisted Living homes.

In fact, the news story draws attention to the fact that the residents had to attend two church services and, in previous years, had to attend multiple Bible studies, but even that is not unheard of.

Make no mistake, Assisted Living facilities do not enforce religion on the residents, but there are some communities that are religious-based and the residents of those facilities want that.

In addition, many of these communities do offer weekly religious-based meetings, but people are not required to attend; and almost all homes offer transportation to off-site religious communities, so that people of all faiths can continue to practice their religion.

The main difference with this Assisted Living story is that the residents were punished for disobeying. In some cases, residents were forced to sleep outside if they didn’t meet the religious requirement.

But the most appalling part is, even those who underwent this illegal punishment, did not speak badly about the Assisted Living home. In fact, the residents had nothing but respect for the owners and many appreciated the approach, not solely because they did not have another place to live, but because they felt their money might be spent on drugs or alcohol and the religious practices helped keep them on the straight and narrow.

You Deserve Better

Even if the residents didn’t believe the owners did anything wrong, the fact is, they deserve better; you deserve better. These living conditions are abuse and the L.A. City Attorney is right to close the facilities down.

Especially for people living on Medicaid and fearing that they’ll outlive their benefits, please hear us on this one. We can help. You don’t need to “settle,” you should have comfort and be happy with your living arrangement.

These residents may have felt fortunate to have found the home they did, but it just goes to show that they don’t know that they deserve better.