Last fall we interviewed 10 people who had recently looked for senior care. We gained some insights on what people are looking for. This post discusses a few things we learned.
Of course, it’s most often the children of the senior doing the searching and this is who we spoke to. Let’s call these folks “searchers”. Most searchers talked about the guilt they felt in moving their parents into a senior home. This guilt happens even though moving a parent into a senior community is the right thing to do.
To overcome the guilt, searchers want to scour every possible option to find the very best place available.
Some of the resources that people are using to look for senior care are called out below:
- Referrals from their network.This was the most often mentioned source of information for searchers–everyone we spoke to turned to their personal network as the first source of info. A referral from a friend or relative was the most trusted and valuable information. We spoke to one searcher in Massachusetts who had recently moved to a new town to be near her aunt for whom she was looking for care. In order to find senior care she networked heavily in this new community to get the scoop on each community.
- The internet.The second most often mentioned source for info was the internet. Most people we spoke to turned to the internet for their search for senior care. However, most people didn’t find great resources. Most mentioned that they had a hard time wading through websites that were antiquated and didn’t inspire trust.
- State agencies & resources. A few people mentioned going to their state and local agencies for information. These agencies have a ton of great information and helpful people who are willing to answer questions.
- Yellow pages. A couple of people mentioned using their local yellow pages. We were surprised by this. We expected that especially among the “searcher” demographic, we’d see a greater reliance on things like the yellow pages and printed directories, etc, but this wasn’t true.
The research is just the beginning. Everyone said that the most important part of their search was actually visiting senior homes. Interestingly, more than one person mentioned that the community needed to smell right.
We’ll share more later as we learn more about what people looking for senior care seek.