By Pam McDonald
At Senior Housing Forum, we have the opportunity and pleasure to visit various senior living communities across the country. We learn what’s working – and sometime what’s wrong – with the way senior living is serving American seniors (and their families).
We particularly enjoy touring stellar communities – those that truly go above and beyond and set a shining example for the entire industry. With their annual Caring Star list of the best assisted living and memory care communities nationwide, our friends at Caring.com (a Senior Housing Forum partner) help us identify exceptional communities faster and easier.
The 2016 list includes 787 communities in 44 states. We join Caring.com in congratulating those who made the cut this year – especially the 96 communities that are “Caring Super Stars,” having earned the award for three or more years.
Caring.com, the largest online resource for people giving care to senior loved ones, was the first to use online consumer reviews to identify the best communities. Historically they release the winner list every January, but, according to Katie Roper, VP of Sales, they decided to announce “Caring Stars of 2016” earlier this year (the fifth anniversary of the program) to better serve caregiving families.
Over the holidays caregivers are likely to gather with elder relatives and many discover their care needs are increased or more urgent. Given the well-established integrity of Caring.com’s reviews and its extensive criteria for determining the winners, consumers can reliably turn to the Caring Stars list as a starting point in their research and selection of an assisted living or memory care community.
The value and usefulness of Caring Stars cannot be overstated and include the following:
- Caring Star Winners Get More Leads, More Move-ins
In quantitative data from the past two years of its senior housing referral business, Caring.com found that Caring Stars winners, on average, get twice as many leads and move-ins as Caring.com partner communities that do not win the award.
- Distinguishes Winners in Local Marketplaces
Caring.com have heard from winning communities from previous years that the Caring Stars distinction has been helpful in differentiating a community in its local market.
- Boosts Morale
Residents and their family members likewise feel proud of their community when it is honored as a Caring Star – the award helps reinforce that they made the best choice for themselves or their loved one and gives them something to brag about when asked how things are going at the community.
Last year Senior Housing Forum Publisher Steve Moran attended a resident celebration at a Caring Star community and saw first-hand how much this honor meant to all involved.
- Third-Party Endorsement
Becoming a Caring Star grants winners positive “word-of-mouth” in the industry. Caring.com does outreach to reporters in all the winning states and spreads stories of assisted living excellence, helping to both raise awareness of how great senior living has become and dispel myths or misconceptions about senior care options.
Another reason Caring.com chose to announce the Caring Stars winners this week was to coincide with the SMASH Senior Care Marketing Summit happening in Chicago this week, enabling colleagues to celebrate with Caring Star winners. Hundreds of Sales and Marketing experts from across the nation will gather to learn and share leading edge strategies to invigorate their performance.