Council on Aging approves participation standards

The Council on Aging voted Monday to update its policy dealing with behavior of senior citizens participating in programs at the Senior Center.
Executive Director Tina Gorman said this morning that the COA adopted a revised policy to deal with incidents of inappropriate behavior and language. The revised policy also sets standards of independence for those participants.
“We had a standards policy adopted in 2005,” Gorman said. “The board members felt that it needed to be updated.”
“Now we have something in writing that we can post so people know what behavior is accepted and which is inappropriate,” she said.
The revised standard gives the staff more information about participants such as home, cell and work telephone numbers of a contact person for notification in the event of a medical or other emergency situation.
The policy also establishes a standard requiring participants to take responsibility for their own personal care, including hygiene, toileting, continence and feeding; to be responsible for their own personal health and medical care, including taking medications and monitoring special diets; being reasonably oriented, capable of independent decision-making and capable of planning their own activities such as transportation, lunch and financial transactions.
The standard states that staff members are not responsible for providing assistance with medication, or other personal health and medical care.
The policy also prohibits smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages or illegal substances on the Senior Center premises.
Gorman said that the prior standard allowed smoking in a designated area outside the center, but that Senior Center is municipal property and is now subject to an ordinance adopted by the City Council in December prohibiting smoking on city property.
The policy also calls for participants to respect the building facilities, including furnishing, dishes, utensils and computers, as well as the private property of other participants.
Gorman said that the goal of the policy is to create an environment of “cooperative behavior.” The policy requires participants to exhibit common courtesy.
Any act that could be construed as harassment of any kind, such as verbal hostility, bullying, excessive noise and disruption, inappropriate comments with sexual, ethnic, religious or age-related implications, jokes which others might find offensive, and any form of violence or threat of violence is expressly prohibited and could result in suspension of privileges and the offending participant asked to leave.
The director will be notified of any inappropriate behavior witnessed by or reported to staff and will use discretion for corrective action. Repeated violations of the standard could result in the permanent suspension of the participants Senior Center privileges.

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