While many seniors prefer to “age in place” in their homes for as long as possible — relying on assistance from caregivers or skilled nursing — it’s likely that, at some point after a stay at a skilled nursing or rehabilitation center, a senior may need to find a residence that offers 24-hour care.
Learn more about the best care for your senior loved ones from this ranking of the best senior living search websites.
5 Best Senior Living Search Websites
Finding the best senior living options for your loved one can be a daunting task, from understanding how to pay for the care to deciphering which communities really stack up to their online presence. Many family members must do much of the senior living search from other cities and states, making it even more challenging to sort through the abundance of senior living communities.
In such situations, it’s helpful to talk to a real person who is experienced in finding the best communities for specific circumstances and locations. A familiarity with benefits, processes and terminology can make a huge difference in an already stressful time.
As the need for this guidance grows with the senior population, several advisor services have popped up to help families searching for the best nursing home. But how do you know which of these is your best option for finding real help in your decision-making process?
Below is an overview of the top senior living referral websites, based on user feedback and reviews:
Site Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars from 168 users (as of Dec. 2016)
Based on A Place for Mom reviews, this service had the highest ratings of any of the websites on the list. Looking at user feedback, the most valuable aspect of this site is the ability to speak directly to one of more than 400 trained local consultants, for free, over the phone. Reading the comments in the review, users mention how quickly the advisor returned their call, and how patient and helpful they were in understanding the caller’s situation and then advising on the best local services to explore.
As the nation’s largest senior living referral information service, A Place for Mom features its own rating system for local facilities, and staff members go to great lengths to ensure the featured customer reviews are legitimate and helpful. Over 95% of reviews on the site have been verified as first-hand experiences of real customers or visitors (indicted by the check mark icon on the review), so no need to skip over fake, offensive, or unrelated reviews.
Site Rating: 5 out of 5 stars from 4 users (as of Dec. 2016)
Similar to A Place for Mom, this site offers free individual advisors for each family, providing help and support in what it calls the “6 steps of the senior living process:” timing, choice, cost, conflict management, preparation, and transition. These six elements are also covered in the site’s downloadable Family Guide. The site features numerous helpful articles and regular interactive “elder chat sessions” to gather input on topics from around the U.S.
For its listing of housing options, the site allows you to search by state, city, or zip code, as well as assistance level needed. Many of the reviews of OurParents.com are brief, but positive. The more detailed reviews explain that the staff is often willing to go the extra mile — by, for example, making phone calls to local facilities — and that being able to speak to another human was very valuable.
Site Rating: 4 out of 5 stars from 39 users (as of Dec. 2016)
Founded in 2007, caring.com offers local search capabilities based on the type of living situation desired or health condition of your loved one. If you’re still learning about the different types of housing options, you can review the sections that offer an overview of each, including costs, level of care, and things to consider. The site also offers additional articles and resources for caregivers in its “Caregiver Wellness Solution Center” and numerous online support groups covering a wide range of topics. User reviews of caring.com noted helpful, friendly assistance and information upfront, but felt that they would have preferred more follow up after initial recommendations were provided.
Site Rating: 4 out of 5 stars from 2 users (as of Dec. 2016)
Focusing on a searchable directory of housing locations, this site offers information on more than 80,000 communities “without the sales pitch.” For each community in its database, it includes photos, ratings from family members and local experts, monthly costs, amenities, types of health care provided, and a map. The site also offers a free care advisor available over the phone. Reviews for SeniorHomes.com noted that the advisors were helpful and provided useful information.
Site Rating: 4 out of 5 stars from 5 users (as of Dec. 2016)
Similar to real estate search sites, this site offers an extensive database searchable by zipcode, with easy-to-use links to request information from the featured communities. The listings include photos, map, overview, care levels, and payment options, as well as onsite services (barber shop, meal planning, exercise, etc.) and activities (art club, gardening, social hours, etc.). The reviews of SeniorsforLiving.com are mixed, but mostly positive. Most families were happy with the service, but some reviewers feel the company didn’t really personalize the information they sent.
Feedback and reviews from other users of these senior advisor services can help you make the most of your time and energy in finding the best nursing home facility for your loved one. By reducing the stress of the logistics, you can focus your efforts on making the transition as simple and pleasant as possible for your loved one and all involved.
Have you had experience with any of these websites in your senior living search? We’d love to hear more about your experiences in the comments below.