Study Shows Only ‘Very Satisfied’ Residents Tend to Recommend Seniors Housing Communities to Others

A new research paper released by the The National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry (NIC) analyzed the results of research seeking to find how satisfaction levels moved seniors housing residents to recommend their communities to others.  The white paper, which is printed in the 2009 Seniors Housing & Care Journal along with other top contenders, is entitled "Satisfied Residents Won’t Recommend Your Community, But Very Satisfied Residents Will" that presents the case of the willingness of residents to recommend their community to others was correlated to the length of time a community was open and the residents’ overall satisfaction with it.  The research and writing was conducted by four individuals: Margaret A. Wylde, Ph.D., president and CEO, ProMatura Group, LLC; Edie R. Smith, senior vice president and director of research, ProMatura Group, LLC; David Schless, president, American Seniors Housing Association; and Rachelle Bernstecker, vice president, Government Affairs, American Seniors Housing Association.

Using data from a survey with 1,042 independent living residents, key findings from the study showed:

  • As the age of the community increased, a significantly greater proportion of new residents learned about it from those living at the community and fewer learned about it from advertising or direct mail marketing.
  • Very satisfied residents (74 percent) are almost four times more likely to recommend their community to a friend than those who are just satisfied (19 percent).
  • Nonphysical attributes – such as policies, personnel, programming and services – have a significantly greater impact on resident satisfaction than a community’s physical attributes – including size and type of residences, building type and structure, and amenities.
  • High satisfaction is related to five attributes of the community: quality of daily life (cultural, musical, arts/crafts, entertainment and social opportunities); dining flexibility (quality of food, variety of menu items and the services and times available for dining); quality of personnel; personal control (privacy and sense of safety and security); and comfort (ease of making friends and the sense that the residence is one’s home).

"Studying both physical and nonphysical attributes is important," said winning author Wylde, "because once the community is built, its physical attributes are difficult to change without significant investment. On the other hand, the nonphysical attributes can be continually improved with relatively minor investment."


Topics of the other papers included in this year’s Journal are: "The Restorative Qualities of an Activity-Based, Third Place Café for Seniors," "The Utility of a Falls Risk Self-Assessment Tool," "Preparing for the Future: Trends in Continuing Care Retirement Communities," "An Exploratory Look at Preferences for Seven Long-Term Care Options" and "Addressing the Home as an Integrated Part of the Solution to Long-Term Care in America."
Copies of the 2009 Seniors Housing & Care Journal are available through NIC for $95. To order, visit