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.
The Home and Community Base Options waiver is a combination of the Living at Home Waiver Program and the Older Adults waiver, providing assistance to help people with physical disabilities to live in their own home. This is actually a very popular waiver, one that does have a waiting list for individuals who would like to utilize it; with that in mind, individuals and their families need to make sure that they meet all of the requirements for the waiver individuals must meet the nursing home level of care, a monthly income should not exceed 300% of SSI benefits, and individuals must be between the ages of 18 and 59.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.