There are many companies out there that offer to help people find senior care with one being the biggest that many people are familiar with. Perhaps you have seen Joan Lunden in a commercial about them as she was their spokesperson at one time. People need to understand the difference between these big companies and smaller consultants such as myself.
The company that most people are familiar with can be found all over the country. They can advertise heavily and even have a large web presence. They own a few different senior care websites but go under different names to draw in more people. When you click the link on one site it takes you to their main site but you are not aware you are there. You are under the assumption you are still on the original website but you are not. It can be a deceptive way of getting customers. These companies make their money from the facilities. They have contracts with them and when they place a person in a facility they get a commission. Therefore, their focus is on volume. They market their services as free which is why people are often drawn to them. They are free but free does not always mean better.
They are salespeople so they are heavy on the sales. They will pressure people about scheduling visits and making decisions quickly and they will call you many times after a visit and when you ask them to stop they often do not. They sometimes try and take credit for the commission they may not be entitled to because you went and found a place they did not tell you about. Consumers need to know that they can find out the same information that the companies give them on their own.
You do not need to have the company set you up with a tour. You can walk in with no appointment any time you want and you should. The best tour is one the company is not prepared for. You can see the facility when nobody expects you to walk in. What's going on around you. If you do prefer a set time you can also call and set that up yourself. It is such an overwhelming undertaking so it is easy to want to use these companies because you don't know where to start. I encourage you to do more research on what is available as far as assistance because many extremely knowledgeable independent consultants are trying to make a living and are not in it just for the sales.
The other important thing to be aware of is that the big companies have often never been to the facilities they are telling you about. They are using fact sheets and computer data to find places based on what you say you want. They do not know what the care is like inside or how the staff is or other things that may be going on there. Once you agree to move to a place they get their commission and are done. When you have a smaller consultant they have usually been to most facilities and have a great deal of personal knowledge about the people working there and how the facility actually runs. Many smaller consultants continue to support people after you move in and continue to be of assistance when things go wrong.
A smaller consultant like myself has a lot of inside information on these facilities and can tell you things the big companies will not. While many people have used them I encourage you to look up companies on the Better Business Bureau and to research all companies or small consultants before you use them. It is also a great idea to ask for references and speak to them personally. Smaller consultants are often in it because they have personal experience with senior care and the needs of seniors like I do. Whoever you use make sure that you have the most accurate information about the places recommended and always ask a lot of questions. If they can't answer some of the most detailed questions that is a red flag. If you would like more information on specific companies and how they work please contact me and I am happy to provide you with honest information you can use to make an educated choice for your loved one's care.