Washington Post Analysis Links A Place for Mom Reviews, Awards with Care Citations 

An analysis by the Washington Post has found that roughly 37% of senior living properties recognized by the A Place for Mom referral service in 2023 and this year as award-winning communities were cited for “serious violations affecting resident care.”

A Place for Mom had awarded the communities as “Best of Senior Living” properties on its referral lists in the past to years despite “many citations from state inspectors,” the Washington Post article states.

The Post cataloged APFM’s “best of” award in 2023 and 2024, looking up inspection and violation reports for 863 senior living communities in 28 states, of which 37.5% of the “Best of Senior Living” communities were found to have had state-level violations that impacted resident care.


Those violations spanned falls, bed sores, medication errors, call response issues, failure to bathe or groom residents, understaffing, sub-standard training, along with violence and sexual abuse, the Post article notes.

The recent Post analysis comes as more families and prospective residents search online to get information regarding local senior living options near them, and shape their decisions going forward.

“A Place for Mom is proud to serve as an important resource to family caregivers,” the company said in an emailed statement to SHN. “Our national team of senior living advisors help to simplify a complex process, speaking with over 700K families every year. We are dedicated to our mission, providing access to transparent information, tools, and resources to help families make informed and confident senior care decisions.”


To reach APFM’s “best of” list, senior living providers need recent reviews with an average of 4.5 stars, according to the APFM website.

In explaining how APFM interfaces with operators citing bankruptcy court documents, the Post notes that senior living providers pay APFM “a fee equal to about a month’s fees for a successful placement” of a new senior living resident.

Founded in 2000, APFM is now owned by Silver Lake Partners and General Atlantic, two private equity companies, and is the largest referral service in the industry.

But, the Post found, the APFM model creates incentives for senior living providers to influence or even “manipulate” their online reviews; the newspaper spoke with some former senior living professionals who described practices such as soliciting reviews selectively only from people having positive experiences, and staff being expected to meet review “quotas” so that positive reviews would outweigh negative ones.

“Those reviews do not come by in a way that really give an accurate understanding of the culture of the community,” one former executive director told the Post.

In March, APFM cut its customer success team in favor of a new way of directly working with operators, as previously reported by SHN. In April, APFM CEO Larry Kutscher stepped down, with President Tatyana Zlotsky now serving as the company’s leader.

Through the years, senior living providers have expressed various complaints about A Place for Mom, which Kutscher acknowledged when he became CEO in 2019. At that time, he said that APFM needed a “reinvention” and that he hoped senior living providers would soon feel the change.
The Washington Post has published several stories critical of the senior living industry in recent months. In late 2023, the newspaper ran articles about elopements in memory care, and more recently published findings of its analysis on the prevalence of 911 lift-assist calls from assisted living communities.

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