A Place for Mom Launches Consumer Review Component

| March 25, 2013

A Place for Mom, the largest senior living referral service in the nation, announced on Monday the launch of an online consumer review component.

SeniorAdvisor.com allows visitors to submit and review consumer feedback on more than 100,000 senior living communities and care services across the country. The site currently features more than 17,000 reviews, and about 82% communities currently have a three-star-or-better-rating. 

The launch comes after other senior care resource websites, including Caring.com, Silver Living, and SeniorHomes.com, have announced, launched, or grown similar initiatives. 

“Choosing a senior living community is an extremely important and emotional decision, and people want to feel confident they have made informed choices. In support of this, we are consistently asked if we have consumer reviews and ratings of senior living communities,” said Sean Kell, CEO of A Place for Mom, in a statement. “Based on this demand, we’ve created SeniorAdvisor.com, designed to become the nation’s largest and most comprehensive source for senior living and eldercare reviews, ratings and unbiased information.”

Before publishing reviews, SeniorAdvisor.com plans to verify them using a variety of sources, including the 200,000 families A Place for Mom helps each year to find senior care options, and the company’s network of senior care partners that includes more than 18,000 senior living care and services providers. When a senior living community or service listed on the website claims ownership of its profile, it will have the ability to invite consumers to review its business. 

The reviews will be on a five-star rating scale system covering five categories: care, cleanliness, activities, value, and friendliness. Consumers will be able to view a community or service’s individual scores on these categories along with an overall rating. 

Reviewers will also be able to post personal comments explaining their ratings, or give general insight or feedback about a community or service. 

The website’s search tools will allow users to search for listings with designated geographic locations and specific desired amenities. Consumers will also be able to use SeniorAdvisor.com to request tours of communities, organize scheduled tours, and send text message reminders of favorite communities. 

“Today’s savvy consumers are proactively seeking the opinions and experiences of others. Many shoppers read reviews of movies, restaurants, hotels and other products before they buy, so it’s not surprising that they expect this kind of information to be available for senior living services,” said Eric Seifert, President, SeniorAdvisor.com. “In line with other service industry reviews, we’re seeing about 82% of our ratings on SeniorAdvisor.com land at three stars or better. It will be exciting to watch how this progresses as the number of visitors to the site increases.”

Senior living provider trade group the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) also recently announced the launch of a consumer web resource, powered by Caring.com, for consumers searching for senior care.

Caring.com says its 2 million monthly visits makes it the Web’s number one source of senior care reviews, while SeniorHomes.com and Silver Living both have more regional operations on the West and East coasts, respectively. 

While some senior living providers are apprehensive of consumers’ ability to post unscripted reviews of communities, a few are using it to their advantage and taking the opportunity to respond to reviews and demonstrate their willingness to address issues. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace


Companies: , , , , ,

Category: Assisted Living, Senior Care, Senior Housing

Comments (11)

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  1. Leo says:

    There is inherent lack of information and transparency around senior care providers online. For a number of reasons, majority of families and residents do not post senior care reviews online. To tackle the issue, we recently launched GoldenReviews.com to proactively seek out families’ and residents’ experiences. We need families, residents, and senior care professionals to share their assisted living, nursing home, and in home care experiences on our website. Rate it forward and help improve senior care in the United States today.

  2. Tal Ziv says:

    Family's and resident's experience are important, but are not significant by themselves. Take a look at APFM's SeniorAdvisor reviews and you will find reviews that are less than useful, such as "Looks high quality, judging from the website", and "This place look similar to Emeritus, just different colors and decorating."

    At http://www.SilverLiving.com we contact families and residents directly to get their feedback, and then combine that with what our own photographers, mystery shoppers, and the State's inspection reports say. A comprehensive review is the only way to convey which community is best for each family.

  3. Joe Lucido says:

    I would trust "A Place for Mom", before I trust anyone else to come up with a comprehensive consumer review rating service for Senior Living Facilities or Communities.

    We have done business with "A Place for Mom" now for the last 18 months and have found them to be a most trusted source, our members and visitors think so as well.

    When someone comes to us for information on Memory Care Facilities, for their loved ones, we direct them to "A Place for Mom" and we always ask for feedback from our members and visitors and have not yet to date received a bad review on their Senior Adviser services. Our members and visitors have been very happy with "A Place for Mom". If they are going to put a comprehensive Rating service together I would expect it to be a first class service one could trust and believe in.

    It says a lot about a company that always does things with the satisfaction of the customer in mind before profits, because if you take care of the little things, the profits will follow, it has been our experience that is the kind of company that “A Place for Mom" is.

    There may be other companies either doing or starting rating services out there, my advice to them is to look at what "A Place for Mom" has come up with and emulate what they have done. They do a great job on what they do best, and that is to advise Caregivers on what communities would be best suited to their needs.

    As always in business the cream rises to the top, and "A place for Mom" is the cream of the crop.

    Joe Lucido
    Director
    Alzheimer's Research Association http://www.alzra.org
    joe@alzra.org

    • candy h. says:

      I worked in a large ALF chain for years. When A Place for Mom came into being we quickly discovered that their whole business is based on paying for referrals. Uneducated families don't realize that APFM is being PAID by these companies they recommend and the pay is substantial for each referral who moves in. Families also don't realize that ethical companies won't pay for referrals so therefore aren't included on APFM rolls.

  4. Dave Wiltsee says:

    The referral – commission "system" in place for senior living facilities is Wild West, desperately in need of structure, standards, and oversight. It is reminiscent of the bad old days in real estate, when ethics were non-existent and real estate laws lax. Not to say any service provider or referral firm is dishonest, but there are enough bad apples and uncertainties out there that the public interest demands legislative action at the State level. Caregivers and seniors in the market for long term care housing deserve protection from unscrupulous practitioners out for a buck, and unconcerned about the best interests of those in need.

    • Joe Lucido says:

      I would second your motion Dave, you are right, there needs to be more oversight from the unscrupulous companies that are just out for a buck, or try to do things the easy way. We did extensive research before we came to do business with "A Place for Mom" and found them to be the best at what they do.

      Coming from a Real Estate back round myself, I would have thought that this business would work just like the Real Estate business does, where one would only get paid for results by placing satisfied clients in the best Senior Care Facility that meets the client’s needs, and not just names. However I found that not to be the case.

      In the real world of Real Estate, if you were to lease a home, the commission is usually one month’s rent, try telling the execs at these companies that they have to give up one months rent for a results driven occupancy, they will laugh you right out of the office.

      I would think giving up one month’s rent for maybe a year’s lease would be a small price to pay to get a satisfied resident in their facilities, but I guess not.

      The referral – commission "system" that exists in this business today is not like it is done in the real world of Real Estate, Senior Living Community companies would rather pay you for just the name of an interested party and let their sales staff take care of the rest of the details. If there were to work on the same basis as working with a real estate agent or firm, they would be paying for results, and getting satisfied clients, and not just names so their sales staff has someone to badger.

      If you are working with the right, and a Professional Real Estate Firm, it is in the best interest of the consumer and not the company, after all most Professional Real Estate Agencies work on referrals from satisfied clients; the same would be true here. I am not saying that there are not unscrupulous Real Estate Agents or Firms out there, sure there are, this is where one needs to do their homework.

      I doubt anyone is going to teach these old dogs any new tricks, and therefore nothing is going to change.

      But if you do your homework, I believe you will find that "A Place for Mom" is the best of the lot.

      Joe Lucido
      Director
      Alzheimer’s Research Association http://www.alzra.org
      joe@alzra.org

  5. Mr. H says:

    As an attorney and legal guardian for disabled persons (doing medical assistance planning in special needs trusts and qualified income trusts ) I tried out APFM website to see what they had to offer. After wasting time and energy submitting relevant information online and with their local rep I was told "we do not do anything with folks in your situation", they really do not know the local scene and especially outiside the city limits, so I gathered it was just too much work for them to research. As a result they are definitely not a good resource and did not even have a clue on how the current system of long term care facilities operate within this State. Complete waste of time to contact them.

  6. Josette Percival says:

    I am sad when hearing this commercial Place for Mom – We parents take all our love and energy to raise our children – we could also send them to a home to be raised by some people. I do know there are possibilities for older people to stay in their home and hopefully having relatives checking on them or help. That place for Mom is like discarding the one who has done so much for you. Many of those old people are so unhappy in those places – What is the need to have children after all ? the US is a sad society, other countries take care of their parents. Hope that John L. lands there one day !

    • SLS says:

      Checking in on them or help? Obviously, you've never seen anyone with Alzheimer's. It makes me sick when I think about the condition my father was in; diapers, hand-feeding, no memory and let's add several years of this. Do you really think you're just going to check in?

      • LDCareGiver says:

        I agree with SLS. It's a heartbreaking situation to watch a parent you've known, trusted and counted on for care and advice all your life to deteriorate into a state where they can't even take care of themselves without significant help. But when the situation reaches a point where they require 24 hour care/supervision, it becomes unmanageable for one person — or even two people — to handle. Your entire life begins revolving around that person, and sometimes even with all you do, it's still not enough.