Sunrise, Holiday Earn Top Honors from J.D. Power

Sunrise Senior Living, Holiday Retirement and Capital Senior Living (NYSE: CSU) have the most satisfied residents among the country’s largest senior living providers, according to a new report from market research firm J.D. Power.

The “J.D. Power 2018 Senior Living Satisfaction Study” was conducted between October and December of 2017 and based on responses from 2,539 residents or loved ones of residents at communities belonging to Atria Senior Living; Brookdale Senior Living (NYSE: BKD); Capital Senior Living; Five Star Quality Care; Holiday Retirement; Life Care Services; Senior Lifestyle Corporation; and Sunrise Senior Living.

J.D. Power worked with CRISIL, a global analytics company, to develop an industry overview of senior living providers. J.D. Power partnered with senior living referral service A Place for Mom to invite seniors and families who had recently moved into senior living communities to take part in the survey, which was independently administered by J.D. Power.*


Resident satisfaction was measured on a 1,000-point scale and based on a composite of the following areas: caregivers and staff; services and activities; cost given services; rooms, buildings and grounds; food and beverage; and service setup and new resident orientation.

Resident satisfaction is important partly because it can help boost word-of-mouth marketing, according to Greg Truex, senior director at J.D. Power. Residents who become unofficial “brand ambassadors” speak positively about their experience with an average of seven friends, relatives and colleagues, the study found.

“Satisfaction correlates very closely with advocacy and loyalty,” Truex told Senior Housing News. “Making your residents… advocates of your brand reduces your marketing costs, generally.”


The inverse is also true, however: “brand assassins” speak negatively about their experience to an average of 13 friends, relatives and colleagues, according to the study.

Looking at the leaderboard

At the top of the list was McLean, Virginia-based Sunrise Senior Living, which had an overall satisfaction score of 802 and also ranked highest in five of the six areas of study. Sunrise currently operates 322 communities throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

“It’s so great for team members to be recognized for their hard work and commitment to serving seniors according to their individual needs and preferences, within the warmth of our senior living communities,” Meghan Lublin, senior vice president of marketing and communications for Sunrise, told SHN. “We see in the results of this study that this customer-centric approach not only matters to our families, but is also keeping them happy.”

Holiday Retirement, which is headquartered in Winter Park, Florida, wasn’t far behind Sunrise with a score of 792. Holiday is the nation’s largest independent living provider and one of the nation’s largest providers of senior living overall with 262 retirement communities.

The new distinction from J.D. Power highlights the hard work of Holiday’s employees throughout the country, according to Lilly Donohue, Holiday Retirement’s CEO.

“The quality, commitment and passion of our local community teammates and our regional field support continues to make me very proud to be the CEO of Holiday,” Donohue told SHN. “It’s no secret we’ve evolved a lot over the last two years, and this validation that we’re on the right path makes us very happy.”

In third place was Dallas-based Capital Senior Living, with a score of 780. The provider operates 129 senior housing communities throughout the U.S.

Key takeaways

Staff and services were more important to resident satisfaction than overall cost, according to the study.

“If you’ve got a high-performing staff and services and activities that really resonate with seniors in your communities, it’s going to drive overall satisfaction that much higher and increase it that much quicker than it would be if you raised or lowered the price by 10%,” Truex said.

Furthermore, 60% of those surveyed identified a “convenient location” as the top reason why they chose to move into a particular community, followed by quality of service and staff (45%) and the variety of services offered (44%).

Though 89% of those surveyed reported there was consistency between what was listed in their service agreement and the actual service they received, overall satisfaction decreased 300 points when the experience differed from what was listed in the contract, according to the study.

Though less than one quarter (21%) of respondents used a referral service to find their community, those who did were happier with their choice, the study found. Specifically, satisfaction among those who used a referral service to find a senior living community was 16 points higher than the satisfaction of those who didn’t use such a service.

*Editor’s note: A previous version of this article misstated A Place for Mom’s role in the “J.D. Power 2018 Senior Living Satisfaction Study.” The study didn’t use data from A Place for Mom.

Written by Tim Regan

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