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Are Assisted Living Referral Sites A Good Thing?

Are Assisted Living Referral Sites A Good Thing?

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Summary: As we have developed this site, we have gotten a lot of interest from other, large national "referral" companies to partner with us. We have tentatively done so with several of them - but the question remains, and is often asked - are referral sites a good thing? We'll offer our experience and thoughts (so far) as to what we think referral sites bring to the table, if anything.

Written By: - Founder/Editor for Assisted Living Directory

Can You Trust Referral Sites?

It's interesting who comes a'knockin when your site is is doing well (as, thankfully, ours is at the moment). Little did I know when I started this site years ago that affiliate and referral sites would be big business in the assisted living industry - and a number of these companies have approached us recently to partner with them. Can You Trust Referral Sites?Having a successful assisted living referral site makes a lot of sense - since so many baby boomers are about to retire - many of whom may be considering assisted living. One referral to an assisted living facility for a qualified "lead" (a person genuinely interested in finding assisted living for him/herself or a loved one) could end up earning the person who generated the lead some big bucks.

Sounds a little well....greedy, doesn't it? We'll, It can be - and in my relatively limited experience with this, some companies are pretty aggressive and don't seem to really care about the well being of the potential "client" over the number of dollar signs they can muster up. There are a few "services" out there that only generate and sell leads, and have very little experience in elder care, and can't ask or answer any of the important questions that come up. Many times, the family or senior will end up getting hounded by phone, mail and e-mail after the lead is farmed out to hundreds of facilities, regardless of what they offer, or if they are a good match for the person/persons interested.

One of the biggest problems is that many times people have no idea they are on a referral or affiliate site, and submit their personal information before they know what they are getting themselves into..

There are, thankfully, some companies out there that do offer a fine service, and who do have boatloads of experience in elder care and placement - and they are often times willing to offer free advice and placement help. These "good" referral sites have a positive working relationship with sometimes thousands of facilities offering widely differing levels of service, so it is easy for them to help you navigate through the maze of assisted living. They do get paid for placements - let's be clear - but in this day and age, who doesn't collect a fee for their services and expertise? The trick is to find someone who can deliver the advising and expertise that most families need - without misleading them into a bad situation, the wrong facility, or into an unreasonable contract. If they truly offer a helpful service to you and qualified advice, and can do much of the groundwork for you - it may be worth having the help.

Finding and researching assisted living is an emotional and confusing process, and most of the time, people genuinely do need help somewhere along the way - often times becoming vulnerable to tricky marketing and empty promises. As with any industry, you'll find as many crooks as there are saviors.

And lastly, we would love to hear your feedback if you have used a referral site before. Please use the comment form below and let us know if you had a good or a bad experience! - David Besnette

    Here are some of our tips when you are researching assisted living facilities on the web - especially when you come across a site that asks you to give them personal information, phone numbers, e-mails etc. (most likely a referral site):

  • Find a privacy policy and read it - it will tell you what information they collect, and how they use it. If they don't have a privacy policy - don't bother.
  • Make sure you can opt-out (remove your information from their database)
  • Use an e-mail address that you don't care about too much - it's easy to create a new (and free) one using yahoo or hotmail
  • If you call or speak so someone, ask them directly - "are you a referral site?"
  • Ask them what qualifications they have in senior care
  • Find out if they sell your information
  • Have a family member with you when you give out any information whatsoever

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