By Steve Moran

I confess I was shocked; yes, shocked by a discussion in our Senior Living Leadership Facebook group. One of the members, PK Fields, created a post where she talked about touring an assisted living community in Arizona and the topic of toilet paper came up.

As in . . . does the community supply toilet paper or is it up to the residents and their families to keep them wiping free and easy?

She actually started a poll asking what communities do. Here is what it looks like so far:

  • The community provides TP and tissue: 21
  • Does not supply TP: 11
  • TP only: 9

So it looks like about ¼ of the respondents do not supply toilet paper.

Feeling . . . Actually I Don’t Know What I Am Feeling

This is something that completely baffles me. How can you not provide toilet paper? I get that over the course of a year TP can be a measurable cost. 30 years ago American Airlines figured out they could save between $40,000 and $100,000 per year by removing one olive from their meal trays.

Olives I get, sort of, but toilet paper?

First, maybe I get it for independent living where housekeeping only happens once a week, but really what are you going to do if a resident shows up and says I am out of TP and I really need to go? Tell them to just use the public toilets? Supply it and charge them a big fee for it? Give them an eviction notice for not maintaining an adequate supply of TP?

At What Cost?

I get that you can argue that over time the cost of TP adds up, or that some residents even abuse it, but to me, it seems cheap. It suggests that the community will nickel and dime me over every little thing. It shouts, they care more about costs and the bottom line than about me as a resident or my loved one.

I don’t know about most consumers, but if it were me, even if the other place, the one that supplied TP were a couple hundred dollars more I would likely choose the TP-included place because the meta-message is that they care more about me or my mom.

It would also suggest the community and perhaps the whole entity is in dire financial straits if they have to scrimp on TP.

Worst of All . . .

What actually happens in those communities when a resident runs low on TP? So many scenarios run through my head . . . none of them good.