Assisted living is destined
to become one of the most competitive markets, or niches in
the country - soon. Why? Because we are at an unprecedented
level of people entering 'retirement' age - baby boomers who
aren't so young chronologically any more (young at heart still,
for many of them, I'm sure). This means that a significant percentage
of them will need senior care in the next several years.
In any competitive or
'lucrative' market, there will absolutely and certainly be a
boom of misinformation, businesses or individuals intent of
profiting by preying on those in need, and folks who have a
downright criminal intent.
seniors are easy targets for shenanigans, abusive behavior,
Assisted living, at
least in an online sense, has started to show signs of this.
Every day, there seems to be a new site out there with the sole
purpose of collecting your information, and selling it to the
highest bidder. There is a lot of misinformation about facilities,
facility owners, and the industry, and there is important information
about these items that isn't as easy to find.
With all of this in
mind, here are our top, most important pieces of advice, and
recommendations to anyone searching for senior care.
1) Don't base
your decision on any one website, no matter how good, or reputable
it may be. This even includes Assisted Living Directory.
We try extremely hard to make sure our facility information,
facts, and articles are bullet-proof with accurate information,
but sometimes, a facility may submit something inaccurate to
our site, and it may take a bit to catch it (as hard as we try).
That's why we try to
offer so many links and references to state-sponsored data,
and other unbiased, trusted resources so people can check the
facts on their own.
ALWAYS check your state's Department
on Aging, or Department
of Health website for information on assisted
I have found that most
states have a comprehensive list of facilities, broken down
by county, city, facility name,license number - and more.
sites often include facility inspections information, safety
and violations information, and enforcement actions that
may have occurred with each facility. This should be considered
some of the most useful and valuable information you can find
as you research, and unfortunately, most people aren't aware
that it exists.
how they plan on using any information you submit. If they don't
have one, move on.
take someone with you as a 'second opinion' or a 'devil's advocate'
as you tour facilities, and interview facility owners and managers.
What one person may not catch, good or bad - another might.
get anything a facility promises or advertises in writing. Don't
trust what anyone 'says' or what a snazzy brochure or marketing
6) Ask to talk
to existing residents, if possible. They'll give you
the best impression (verbally, or through appearances or body
language) as to how they are treated, how happy they are, and
how the facility is managed. Perhaps you could ask to have lunch
with the residents to observe the overall mood, and to speak
with residents at the facility directly in a group atmosphere.
7) Is it easy
to find who is responsible for the information on a website,
authorship information, or the name of who owns the website,
or who has produced the content? If you can't find
a name, or anyone taking responsibility, think twice about whether
it is trustworthy.
8) If you find
misinformation, experience abuse, or questionable practices
by a facility, or a website, report it! The more vigilant
the public becomes in policing this industry, the fewer open-doors
there will be for people with bad intentions.
There are so many wonderful
people behind the scenes in this industry, and thousands of
awesome facilities and businesses. Unfortunately, a few, but
growing number of bad-apples can do significant damage to individuals,
their families, and the industry's reputation.
By following our tips
and advice (and we welcome others in the comments below), we
can look forward to a safe and positive future in the assisted
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