Florida is a Top Destination for Retirees... and Mold
With its warm weather and beautiful beaches, Florida continues to be a top destination for retirees. In fact, Florida is home to the highest percentage of senior citizens in the United States. A growing number of these seniors reside in assisted living facilities, where they may be exposed to mold and other environmental threats that can threaten their fragile health. As the owner or manager of a senior center, it is your responsibility to detect and eliminate mold as quickly as possible. Below is a look at the most common causes of mold in senior housing facilities, along with the single best way to eliminate mold from your assisted living facility.
Common Causes of Mold in Senior Centers
Mold can be particularly resistant to prevention and removal due to the impact of a wide variety of structural and environmental causes. However, these causes share a common thread: they involve intrusion of water. Here are just a few of the leading causes of mold in senior centers and assisted living facilities:
1) Roof or drywall damage
"Mold can grow anywhere that there was water damage, meaning in your drywall, insulation, and even in your floorboards and ceiling beams. It's important to do a thorough inspection of the nearby area to determine if mold is present."
Roofing problems are common in Florida and other states where facilities are exposed to hurricanes, thunderstorms, and strong winds. Missing shingles, roof leaks, and damage to insulation can all lead to the buildup of moisture in a senior center. If this damage is left untreated, mold will develop.
2) Overflowing sinks and toilets
Senior citizens and other people with memory deficits are more prone to leave a sink faucet running or to inadvertently knock objects into the toilet. And while an overflowing sink or toilet is not a serious problem, failure to properly remove standing water or dry the surrounding area can lead to mold growth.
3) High humidity
"Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. Condensation occurs when warm humid air comes into contact with a cold surface and the moisture condenses into water."
According to the Florida Climate Center, Florida is the most humid state in the United States. Florida's humidity alone puts senior centers and memory care facilities at an elevated risk for mold growth. And because existing health issues may preclude the use of a dehumidifier, controlling mold can be an even greater challenge for senior center managers.
4) Leaking windows
Leaking windows play a leading role in the development of mold. Poorly flashed windows, improperly sized panes, and other structural problems are often to blame for the intrusion of moisture into a building. Residents with memory deficiencies may also accidentally leave windows open, resulting in the accumulation of water indoors.
5) Air conditioner issues
"Air conditioner mold can spread throughout the house every time you turn your air conditioner on and exposure to mold can lead to numerous health problems, including respiratory disorders and allergic reactions."
When combined with Florida's high humidity, the buildup of condensation on an aging or malfunctioning air conditioner is a recipe for disaster. Clogged air conditioner ducts and old filters are often to blame, along with failure to have air conditioning units serviced on a regular basis.
Mold is a Serious Issue for Senior Care Facilities
"There are four kinds of health problems that come from exposure to mold: allergic illness, irritant effects, infection, and toxic effects. For people that are sensitive to molds, symptoms such as nasal and sinus irritation or congestion, dry hacking cough, wheezing, skin rashes or burning, watery or reddened eyes may occur."
As outlined by the Florida Department of Health, mold can cause a host of serious health problems. The threat of these problems developing among senior citizens is even greater because their health is often already compromised by existing conditions. Experts with Mold Health Report advise that the "elderly can be considered at a higher risk (for developing illness), especially those who already suffer from other ailments."
What should you do if you discover mold in your facility?
If you notice signs of mold or mildew in a senior care center, you should take action swiftly. Mold will not disappear on its own and failure to address mold can lead to the development or exacerbation of respiratory problems and other health issues. The American Lung Association outlines some simple steps for you to follow immediately if you notice mold in an assisted living facility:
ATP will provide the following services:
- Step One: Determine and eliminate the source of water intrusion and or leaks
- Step Two: Make sure to advise all residents, family members, employees and management of proper procedures and protocols and evacuate the building if necessary
- Step Three: Conduct water mitigation, drying and dehumidification of the affected areas
- Step Four: Removal of mold affected building material, content cleaning, HEPA vacuuming and TM-100 Fogging
- Step Five: Assistance with the insurance company and claim process
- Step Six: Provide a Final Clearance to assure the water and mold has been mitigated and the building is safe for occupancy.
ATP Will Quickly Detect and Remove Mold
While there are some measures you can take to address mold in an aged care facility, the single best way to ensure that you properly detect and remove mold is to seek the services of a professional mold removal company. As the leading mold removal company in Florida, ATP Mold has 30 years of experience removing mold from assisted living facilities. We are proud to offer our customers the following reasons to choose our services:
- Proven success conducting water mitigation and mold removal of over 200 units affected by Hurricane Irma in Naples FL
- Proven success conducting mold removal services of over 150 units in Palm beach County
- Non-toxic mold removal solutions to protect the fragile health of senior residents
- OSHA certified and accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Organic removal and remediation techniques; no harsh chemicals are used. Safe for humans and pets
- Competive pricing and will work within your budget
- Owner-operated to optimize security for your staff and senior residents
- All employees have backround checks and are drug free.
- Full licensed and Insured
We invite you to contact us to schedule an assessment of your assisted living facility. We have the tools and expertise required to screen your senior center for mold and quickly remove any mold issues detected. We look forward to becoming your most trusted resource for mold removal!