So, you thought that guy at dinner seemed a little too smooth?
What responsibility does a retirement community have to assure the character of its residents? Currently there is no law or regulations in California that require background checks for residents before they move in. (This is somewhat surprising since California’s propensity to over regulate everything has pretty much removed the dignity and independence from aging.)
Yet, there may be some justification for at least talking about the reasons for requiring a simple background check. There’s been lots of buzz about gyrating seniors and Sexagenarians in Senior Living Communities. (Not everybody is focused on early-bird dinners and endless rounds of golf—although I’ve heard a punch line that says, “What’s par for this hole?”)
Eight out of 10 people aged 50 to 90 year olds are sexually active, according to research published by the British Medical Journal, and the number of STD cases in that age group more than doubled in the past 10 years.
I suppose all this activity is well and good, if everything is consensual. But consider that a recent study found 5 million Americans 65+ with Alzheimer’s and 13.9% of the population with dementia. Women are more predisposed to these illnesses and the thought of a predator taking advantage of the situation is really disturbing.
Obviously it is desirable that older people be informed and capable of making these types of decisions without the community’s involvement albeit to insure the resident’s health and well-being. And it’s not only sex. A recent routine traffic stop in Fresno found the driver had meth in his car. Investigators then went to his apartment in a senior citizen village where they say he was cooking and distributing drugs.
To trot out an old cliche, it’s often better to be safe than sorry. In this day and age, senior residence managers should make sure to do background checks on new residents (being sure to get informed consent first)–and prospective residents should make sure to ask about any senior living center‘s procedures for screening their applicants.
Further reading: Senior Living Faces Danger in Lack of Resident Background Checks