One of the things I find so frustrating is the very deceptive marketing of assisted living facilities. I was recently sent an article by someone that was worth a look at. It was found on the website of a very commonly mentioned senior living finder company. The theme was basically about the best top-rated senior living communities of 2022 based on this companies parameters. What were those parameters? The company said that the community must have received at least ten reviews with an average rating of 4.5 stars or more during the calendar year. What does this mean? It means that communities caring for seniors received ten or more positive reviews. Who left these reviews? If they say "verified" residents, what does verified mean? Do we know if the management asked those people to leave a review because they knew it would be positive?
I decided to research the reviews on several of these places, and I was able to find reviews on the same days, one after the other. What are the chances that one community would get 3-4 positive reviews on the same day? In reality, most people do not go out of their way to leave reviews because they usually forget. Some of the reviews were from residents living there for many years, and they were asked to leave a review. This does not mean their view is inaccurate. The review does not tell us is what type of care they are receiving? Are they living independently or receiving nursing care? If these people are happy, that is great, but we do not know how many are. If you have twenty positive reviews but never ask people with concerns to share their opinions, then you are promoting those positive people to make it look like you are the "best " of the best. For every facility found in Illinois on this list, I was able to find many concerning negative experiences. Lawsuits against some of them in the past and other concerning issues with the facility, including staff shortages and poor treatment of needy patients. Some of the negative reviews were found through the links to the communities the finder company had posted in their article.
This advertising implies that these facilities on the list are the top places and that the care level is of high quality. They even mention that a common thread in the resident reviews is the outstanding level of care received at these places. Some of these communities may be excellent, but my concern is the somewhat misleading way the article implies knowledge of these places. The other twist to this article is that the big finder company works with all these places to help place people in those communities. When a person uses the company and then signs a contract with one of the places they suggest, the big company gets a hefty commission. This leads me to wonder if there is some incentive to promote these facilities to one party or the other.
The truth is that in any senior living community, you will have good and bad experiences. Nothing is perfect. one facility has had some poor care that does not make it a "bad" place. However, it is essential not to be misled by this advertising and to ask around and do a lot of research on your own to find out about what goes on inside. As I have emphasized many times, do not make an appointment to visit a community you want to see how it really operates pop in. What is going on around the facility when you walk in? You can learn a lot by just observing. For more things to look for when visiting, check out my printables page and other tabs on the website. I am here for you and your family, not the communities.