Where You Live Matters 2.0: Inside the Renewal of ASHA’s Senior Living Referral Site 

Earlier this year, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) relaunched its Where You Lives Matters website to serve as a “game-changing new tool” for online lead aggregation. 

Initially launched in 2016, the independent website failed to gain traction with operators while still being a viable educational resource for consumers seeking answers about senior living. With consumer trends changing and consumer behaviors online in flux since its impetus in 2016, a relaunch effort started behind the scenes in 2022. 

So ASHA revamped the platform with new features like a community locator tool that allows prospects to search for communities by their location and more video resident testimonials.


Older adults considering a move into a senior living community want two things: Community pricing information and verified reviews. But delivering on those two demands remains tough for the industry, even as operators shift marketing dollars to build a more robust online presence.

At the end of the day, the website reflects a need to “do things differently and better for the consumer,” according to ASHA President Dave Schless.

The relaunch is set against the backdrop of an industry that is still grappling with its relationship with lead aggregators overall. In recent years, companies that provide online referrals have vexed senior living operators by serving essentially as a middle-man to the online search process.


Schless and others believe the industry still has an opportunity ahead of it to better get in front of prospective residents and their families before they end up on a third-party referral site. That opportunity is underscored by the fact that third-party aggregators and other similar companies have led to sometimes bad experiences for consumers.

“We want the consumer to reach directly to the community, and what’s underpinning all of this is pricing information and reviews,” Schless told Senior Housing News.

Beating aggregators at their own game

Typically, the senior living web search process works like this: An older adult or their family will go online searching for information about senior living. They might use keywords like “senior living near me” or “independent living.” Oftentimes, they end up on a website like A Place for Mom.

At its core, A Place for Mom can be described as a company that connects people who want senior housing with operators of such communities.

Senior living operators have in the past criticized the company and others like it as sending too many leads with little relevance to what operators do well. Although A Place for Mom answered those criticisms by launching a “customer success team” meant to improve lead quality, among other goals; the company pivoted away from that strategy in March.

Indeed, the Where You Live Matters relaunch comes during a time of “misalignment” between operators and third-party referral services, Schless said. He noted that third-party lead websites are sometimes hard to differentiate from the websites operators themselves run.

As many older adults seek out senior living services for the first time, ASHA and others believe it’s important that they hear from operators first, not from third-party aggregators.

But for all that misalignment, the industry hasn’t had much success disrupting the online search process. For example, a group of operators backed an effort to launch a referral service with a “dating profile approach” in 2022. But those efforts have not gone very far in the time since.

Some of the big goals of the Where You Live Matters consumer resource are to provide pricing information, verified reviews and place residents directly in front of operators. .

“We’re trying to use the site to provide a variety of different things that are honest, informative, and help better explain senior housing in all its various forms,” Schless said.

He added: “We want to build a site that is directing consumers who are at that stage in the journey to talk directly to the community.”

The previous Where You Live Matters site saw good traction in educating consumers on the different aspects of the senior living continuum but was unable to connect directly with smaller communities, Schless said.

To help ASHA connect with more online prospects, the organization paid extra attention to search engine optimization (SEO), with a goal of creating additional sites optimized for greater engagement at the local level.

The “cornerstone” of the website is a community locator tool that “will not only connect consumers directly to communities at no cost, it’s also an important step in ultimately reducing industry reliance on paid online referral services in the future,” an ASHA update from May read.

To date, over 5,000 communities are listed on the Where You Live Matters community locator tool.

Industry ‘not telling the right story’ to properly capitalize on demand

Senior living operators have taken various approaches in recent years to attract new consumers, from revamping digital marketing budgets to evolving sales techniques to capitalize on demand. But without an independent resource to connect consumers with communities, the senior living industry will fail to capitalize on the full strength of the demand wave currently playing out, Schless said.

The industry is still “not telling the right story,” according to Robert Grammatica, who provided technical support in the buildout of the Where You Live Matters website.

“The industry must rally around a consistent voice or consistent message or it will continue to be this fragmented noise and that narrative is being told by the press in a negative way,” Grammatica said.

Grammatica added that senior living operators must consider the benefits of listing information on Where You Live Matters, or risk remaining isolated and reliant on third-party aggregator services.

“We are definitely leaning heavily into creating a frictionless lead generation engine that puts consumers directly in touch with owner-operators that are in their search criteria,” Grammatica said. “The demand for an alternative to for-profit lead aggregators has gotten louder, and so we’re listening to operators and consumers.”

In the months ahead, ASHA will run a “pilot test” in the Dallas-Fort Worth markets in Texas, along with the potential for other tests within key markets before a wider rollout takes place.

With the pilot, ASHA has reached out to various senior living state affiliates to drum up support for Where You Live Matters, regardless of membership to ASHA or other trade associations, to get an accurate representation of operators in that key market.

The pilot will occur in the fourth quarter as a way to demonstrate the organic lead generation that Where You Live Matters is capable of without being supported through paid marketing dollars.

“At the end of the day, if what we’re doing is not really good for the consumer, it’s just not good for the business in the long haul,” Schless said.

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