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The Internet has been a game-changer when it comes to the way people shop for goods and services. The effect of consumer reviews and ratings is even more influential when it comes to high-ticket items or important health decisions. Picking senior housing and assisted living is one of the most Internet research-dependent decisions in the healthcare industry.

Selecting senior housing is a shared responsibility between children or younger relatives and the person making the move. How this responsibility is divided depends on the cognitive abilities of the patients and how well-equipped they are to conduct their own research. 9 out of 10 times, children of the aging will resort to the Internet to become better familiarized with the services and features available at each facility. Proximity in tandem with quality and variety of services, as assessed by others on review sites, are the main factors influencing which facilities they are willing to consider as options for their aging relatives.

(Check out: ā€œOffering Housing, Apartments, and Nursing Homes? Hereā€™s a List of Industry Review Sites You Should Know Aboutā€)

The process of selecting senior housing, a nursing home, or assisted living is a highly emotional and often overwhelming task. All involved are seeking reassurance and trying to obtain the best value for their money, to ensure retirement funds are sufficient to cover the expenses associated with this type of move for as long as it might be needed.

To this end, feedback available on review sites becomes essential in the decision-making process and frequently substitutes word-of-mouth when personal referrals are not available. For this reason, the management of online reviews and online reputation is a non-negotiable for healthcare marketers and administrators seeking to improve their occupancy and revenue levels at senior care and assisted living facilities.

Where Do Relatives Go to Find Reviews and Other Information? Founded in 2007, is a popular and comprehensive destination to seek out additional information about assisted living, memory care, in-home care, independent living, and nursing homes. In addition to over 55,000 reviews, has a rich by-state directory to help shoppers identify facilities in their preferred geographic area. In addition to free-text reviews, relatives and those living in the facilities can give their assessment on a star-based system that ranks facilities from one to five stars.

Golden Reviews: This is another popular choice for those seeking consumer-based reviews of senior living or assisted living facilities. Golden Reviews is a directory with over 100,000 reviews. In addition to searching by ratings, users can also search by distance, features, and Medicare ratings. The consumer ratings feature four subcategories: cleanliness, food, quality of care, and overall experience.

OurParents: OurParents is home to over 65,000 facility profiles with rich details regarding features and services available at each facility. In addition to reviews, the website offers demographic information regarding each city, and the ability to request price quotes directly from each facility. The review format is very similar to, with a free-text portion and the ability to enter a star-based rating. Unfortunately, this website does not allow the reviewer to self-identify as a relative or resident.

There are many other review sites, and more are entering the market as the percentage of aging population increases. In order to gain ground and establish your facility as a leader, you must take the helm of your reputation management and review-monitoring strategy. The goal of a facility seeking to deliver the highest levels of online engagement is to convey sincere and dedicated commitment to the residents and their families, not only by providing superior services but also by taking the time to join the online conversation and responding to reviews when applicable.

Kevin Kent

Kevin is the Director of Finance and Operations at ReviewTrackers. Every day he finds creative ways to solve business owners' problems and identifies key issues to help them achieve top results.