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Questionable Tactics Used By Most Assisted Living Sites

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Home » Questionable Senior Care Site Tactics  
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The Questionable Tactics Used by Many Assisted Living Sites

Assisted Living Directory iconWritten By: - Founder/Editor for Assisted Living Directory
Summary: It really is quite distressing to see the lengths to which so many assisted living and senior care sites out there will go to to get your information or your hard-earned dollar.

Our goal with Assisted Living Directory has always been to provide a safe place for you to research assisted living, and to teach you how to avoid some of the traps you might find on other sites. We also love to highlight throughout our website other sites that we know are trustworthy and honest.

I want to share with you an email I received recently, and after several back and forths with this person, I come to find out he is an ex-google engineer.

He comments on the questionable nature, tricks and tactics of most assisted living sites out there, which I'll talk about in a minute. He writes:

"Not a question but a comment: In todays' day and age I can't believe how few facilities have websites... what's up with that? That said, the predominant Internet search tends to result in what seems to be legitimate universal directories but in fact turn up so-called "Advisers" which are nothing more than lead generators for large facility conglomerates or a conglomerate itself hiding behind a directory service. Seems like the smaller players/facilities have little or no voice when it comes to Internet search. I've kind of skimmed your site to see what you're about and it looks like you really care about seniors and helping them make smart choices so kudos to you. It would be nice if every facility could provide and promote themselves in more detail in one place with God forbid a link to their own website. I haven't found it yet. Thanks for what you do." - Greg

He's right, and this is something that has been very unsettling to me lately.

try to find an honest senior care website

I spent some time today going through the top-ranked assisted living and senior care websites that come up on the major search engines. Unless the site is a state-sponsored or government site, almost without fail they are all designed to get your personal information, and/or referral fee using unclear, un-transparent, or dishonest, questionable tactics, however subtle or overt they may be.

I'd like to very clearly point out what many of these sites are doing, and it is my hope that it will save you a lot of time, your privacy, and help you to make safe choices. Make no mistake, the assisted living industry is big bucks.

Questionable Tactics:

How many assisted living sites that you have visited do any or all of the following?

1) One of the most commonly used strategies that most assisted living sites use is to display plenty of information about facilities, but when it comes to the phone number, they'll replace it with their own toll free referral number to sell your 'lead' to an often-times questionable 3rd party company. Almost none of the top-ranked assisted living sites out there will let you call a facility directly. Assisted Living Directory does, and that's one of the differences with our site from others.

example on other sites

2) Pretty photos, but are they of the actual facility? Many sites look like they have nice photos of each facility, with happy seniors enjoying the activities and facility offerings, However, many times these photos are simply stock-photos, renamed or re-worked to appear as if they belong to the facility.

Stock seniors

3) Watch out for sites that ask you to "click here to see a phone number" for a facility, but instead you are greeted with a large referral form that you are aggressively encouraged to fill out first to see the number.

Phone example

4) "Dot-Org" means nothing and should not be blindly trusted. Many assisted living and senior care sites out there have purposefully purchased a .org extension for their site. Of course, most people, whether they realize it or not, associate a .org with a benevolent non-profit organization or company, and are more likely to trust a site with this extension. However, most .org assisted living sites out there are entirely, 100% commercial in nature, and some of the worst offenders out there in terms of 'questionable tactics' to get your information have the .org extension.

dot org example

5) One site or company owning many other domains or websites. Did you know that one of the major assisted living companies out there owns 28 sites in our niche? So, even though you think you might be getting bids or information from 3 different sites for facilities, you are likely to be speaking to the same person or company - but they will probably not come clean about it.

6) Including skilled nursing, nursing homes and independent living under the 'umbrella' term of assisted living. This is how many sites appear to have far more listings than other sites, when, in-fact, each of these care options are vastly different in what they offer, and cost. You will have wasted a lot of time sorting through these facilities to find which ones are actual, licensed assisted living facilities.

7) Not coming clean about who is behind the site, or who is responsible for the content. Basically put, if you can't figure out who owns the site, who is behind the information, and if there isn't a clear contact page with numbers and addresses of the site's owner, you can bet that they don't have your best interests at heart. More about anonymous senior care sites.

We (Assisted Living Directory) are not against referral activity, or earning money through a senior care website. What we are against is sites that don't come clean about what they are doing, and who aren't transparent about where your information goes, or where you'll end up if you click on something, or call a phone number.

Learn How Assisted Living Directory is Different

Learn More on How To Spot a Questionable Senior Care Website

- by

Responses to this article (or, make a comment):

Assisted Living Directory Wrote:
Kevin, I appreciate your comment. I work currently, and actively with 3 companies - CarePatrol, Ourparents and APFM. Every one of them allows you to opt out of their database, have robust privacy policies, and have also been around for a long time. There are dozens of fly-by-night 'companies' out there that have none of that, and that are very very aggressive and I've said no to working with more companies than I've said yes to twenty-fold. I've used Ourparents for a family memeber, I've audited the others, and to date, I've never had a family contact me that they had any problems whatsoever.

Every single facility I list on my site has a direct phone number, and I do offer help, if people need it, and I've got links all over my site to educate people what to look for and who I work with. I can't vouch for how other companies structure their sites, but I've done my best to be transparent to a fault. I offer the help on my site as a choice, I don't force people into it. It's also a choice as to what people share with these companies, and whether they wish to use their services. I have never had a family tell me that any of the companies I work with did not honor their request to not be contacted, and I've never heard of any of them sharing information submitted with other companies or individuals, and I've worked with each of these companies for at least 8 years now.

I am happy to talk to you about having your services included on our Richmond page, as I have always been open to promoting companies or individuals that I feel offer a valuable service to my site's visitors, like yours (I checked it out). I've emailed you directly.
12 January 2016 at 2:02 pm

Kevin Wrote:
Good evening, I operate an independent, personalized referral service to help older adults and/or their loved ones explore supportive housing options, ie independent and assisted living communities. As a licensed ALF Administrator and nurse, I started this because I know people deserve more than a telephone call followed by a list of places to tour. Excluding Care Patrol (which is a personalized service very similar to the service my organization provides), your other "trusted organizations" employ the tactics you warn about. You've committed to remove them immediately from your website, and I'd love to discuss becoming the second partner in the Richmond, VA area. I apologize if I sound crass, but I can't tell you how many families I work with that inadvertently followed a link requesting information and were overwhelmed with the calls they received and pressure they felt. We do it a lot different, and I assure you A Helping Hand Senior Care Services is an organization you would proudly refer to a loved one needing to explore senior housing options in the Richmond, VA area. I've typed more than I intended, and realize I should probably send this as an email on the contact us page, so I thank you for your time and look forward to talking with you.
9 January 2016 at 8:21 pm

Ann Wrote:
Another scam for my list. Thanks for letting me know. I think I have seen some of this in looking up other things besides senior-centered things. Ann
18 September 2013 at 2:21 pm

Owen Wrote:
It has driven me nuts too - can't stand how many sites out there try to take advantage of people, especially seniors. Thanks for the 'heads up.'
18 September 2013 at 11:29 am

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