Caring.com on Tuesday released its annual list of top-rated assisted living and memory care communities according to consumer ratings and reviews, with 405 communities named 2014 Caring Stars.
“Congratulations to the Caring Stars communities for earning high praise from residents, families, and senior care experts on Caring.com thus achieving this award of service excellence,” said Andy Cohen, cofounder and CEO of Caring.com, in a statement. “In the senior living industry, online word of mouth has grown in importance. Families tell us that reviews are among the top considerations when they choose an assisted living or memory care community for a loved one, and we see communities with reviews getting significantly more online inquiries than those with no reviews.”
Six in 10 family caregivers say they use the internet to research senior care service providers, according to recent Caring.com research. A huge majority—94%—of family caregivers say online reviews are trustworthy and helpful in their search for senior care providers.
“People often suspect reviews are fake, but we spend time making sure they’re real,” Cohen told SHN of the site’s 50,000 reviews. “What we notice more than anything is that the well-rated places really are the best. Even within a chain, there are highly rated communities and ones that aren’t as good, and we’re seeing that the system really works.”
Caring.com has noted a significant increase in the impact of reviews on leads in the past year, says Denise Graab, the company’s director of social community. Assisted living and memory care community listings with reviews got an average of 14 times more leads compared to listings without reviews in 2013, according to analysis of leads data—nearly triple the rate in 2012.
Larger senior living chains like Brookdale, Emeritus, and Sunrise are typically more proactive about seeking reviews for their communities, says Cohen. Emeritus accounted for 13% of the Caring Stars, with the winners representing around 11% of the company’s assisted living and memory care portfolio. Brookdale, meanwhile, accounted for 20% of the winners, representing 12% of its communities.
Roland Park Place, LiveWell Assisted Living, and Pacific Gardens are among the non-chain senior living communities that stand out from the crowd in terms of quality and quantity of consumer reviews.
This is the third year Caring.com has compiled the rankings, with the 405 recognized communities across 38 states representing the top 1% of assisted living and memory care communities nationwide. The 2014 Caring Stars program considered consumer ratings and reviews posted on Caring.com between Dec. 1, 2012 and Dec. 1, 2013.
Communities that qualified to be a Caring Star had to have received at least three reviews during that time frame, at least one of which was a five-star rating; have an average overall rating of greater than four stars across all reviews on their listing; and have no unresolved negative reviews. Any community that meets this criteria is named a winner.
Florida (61 Caring Stars), California (48), and Texas (37) are the states with the most winning communities, which mirrors their size and population, Cohen notes. However, North Carolina and Pennsylvania were both over-index, with 19 Caring Star communities each, and Georgia and Ohio also exceeded expectations with 16 Caring Stars each.
View the list of best-rated assisted living communities.
Written by Alyssa Gerace