# 77 III-1.2000 III-7.

8300 DJ 202-PL-082

May 25, 1993

Dave McDowell Fusch-Serold & Partners AIA 5950 Berkshire Lane Suite 1000 Dallas, Texas 75225 Dear Mr. McDowell: This letter is in response to your inquiry about the application of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to senior living communities. We apologize for the delay in responding. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities having rights or obligations under the Act. This letter provides informal guidance to assist you in understanding the ADA's requirements. However, it does not constitute a legal interpretation or legal advice, and it is not binding on the Department. You are concerned with facilities you describe as senior living communities, which provide residents with some assistance with daily living activities, but which generally do not provide daily skilled nursing care. The community consists of dwelling units, which you refer to as Catered Living areas, some common areas which are open to the public, and a nursing center for skilled care. You believe that the ADA applies to the public common areas and the nursing care center, but you ask if and how the ADA applies to the Catered Living areas. As you correctly stated in your letter, any areas in your

communities that are not reserved for the exclusive use of residents and their guests are covered by the ADA, if they function as one of the twelve categories of places of public accommodation listed in title III. Therefore, any admission or rental office is covered by title III, and your nursing care facility and any recreational facilities in your communities are required to comply with title III if they are open for the use of persons other than tenants and their guests. Furthermore, all areas of the facility are covered by the ADA if the facility provides a significant enough level of social services that it can be considered a social service center establishment. Social services in the context of the ADA include medical care, assistance with daily living activities, provision of meals, transportation, counseling, and some recreational activities. Not one of these services will automatically trigger ADA coverage. Rather, the determination of whether a private entity provides a significant level of social services will depend on the nature, level, and quantity of services. If a community provides a significant enough level of social services such that it can be considered a social service center establishment, all of those portions of the community that are used in the provision of social services are covered by the ADA, including the nursing center and the living areas, if social services are provided in those areas. Your letter also asked whether, if the living areas are subject to the ADA, section 6 of the Americans With Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG), which applies to medical care facilities, contains the applicable architectural standards. Section 6 does not apply to your Catered Living areas, because section 6's coverage is limited to facilities in which people receive physical or medical treatment. If, as your letter implies, medical or physical care in your communities is provided in the nursing care facility and not in the living units, section 6 does not apply to them. Nonetheless, you might find it beneficial to apply the section 6.1(3) standards for nursing homes to your living facilities if your communities cater to a population with a high percentage of persons with mobility impairments and other disabilities. Application of the accessibility standards in section 6.1(3) may result in your communities being more attractive to a growing population of elderly persons with accessibility needs.

If you choose not to apply the standards of ADAAG section 6, you should follow the general ADAAG standards, meeting the applicable standards from sections 4.1 to 4.35. I hope this information is helpful to you. Sincerely,

John L. Wodatch Chief Public Access Section