‘Assisted Living’ Trumps All Other Senior Housing Search Terms

The most common search term for senior living is not, in fact, senior living — or senior housing — but assisted living, a new analysis of search terms used by consumers searching for industry-related housing and care types reveals.

Assisted living is a much more common search term compared to senior living and nursing homes, with senior living being the second most common, according to the nation’s largest senior living referral source A Place for Mom (APFM), which conducted its analysis of trends in senior care searches based on Google data.

The discovery came as a surprise to APFM, Nick White, senior manager of marketing operations at APFM, tells SHN.


But even more surprising was how quickly lesser known care types —skilled nursing, senior home care, memory care and independent living — have increased in search term use in recent years, he says.

Image courtesy of A Place For Mom
Image courtesy of A Place For Mom

“The big thing that was really interesting and caught us off guard a bit was that some of these terms were doubling or tripling in terms of the frequency with which they were searched for,” he says. “This isn’t an evolution, or happening gradually — it’s happening rapidly.”

Senior living is more commonly used when compared with the four other search terms. Of those four terms, skilled nursing is the most commonly searched of the four terms in the past couple of years. And searching for memory care has risen significantly in the last couple of years.


The frequency of skilled nursing, senior housing and memory care searches have all increased in the past 10 years, and searches for each of these terms have increased at least two times over that period of time.

Providers should take note of the rapid rise of certain search terms, and how quickly the most commonly used term changes, he says.

“In 2013, the top two search terms would have been assisted living and nursing homes,” he says. “In 2014, it’s assisted living and senior living. It has changed that quickly. This signals a profound and rapid change in the consumer — what people are looking for and how they are looking.”

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Senior living as a search term tripled in the past 10 years relative to other care types, data show.

Nursing homes’ fall to the wayside as a search term reflects increasing education among consumers regarding senior living products and types of care, he says.

“It suggests that the public is becoming more educated about senior care and learning that nursing home isn’t the catch-all term for all types of senior care,” he says.

Read the APFM analysis here.

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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