5 Reasons Why Placement Advocates Are Best for Families

Senior Placement Advocates (Agents) are far and away the best way to find the right Assisted Living or Memory Care facility for a Loved One.

Here’s the situation many experience. Suddenly your parent needs round the clock care. You are faced with one of the most important decisions you will ever make. At one of the most difficult times in your life. Your Loved One often doesn’t want to move. You want to do what’s best.

How do you find the best assisted living or memory care in your community? What’s the right place for you parent’s special needs? What’s the difference between care facilities for dementia patients and assisted living that offer dementia care? How do you know caregiver/resident ratios, staff turnover, owner involvement, regulatory status, history of medication management?

You have three options all of them free to you:

● Do it yourself
● Placement Advocates
● Web Referral Sites

Unless you have long involvement with senior care in your area or have deep personal knowledge of the specific place you plan to place your Loved One, we do not recommend finding a place on your own. All the most common avenues available to you are free, so money is not the issue.

DIY can be problematic. Even if you know of a place you like — your neighbors’ Mom has been very happy there –you probably have not made repeated visits to the facility, know the management and staff well, know whether it offers the particular care expertise your Mom needs. You probably haven’t reviewed the facility’s regulatory assessments or know how their pricing compares to other facilities’.

Here are the 5 reasons Senior Placement Advocates are Better at helping families find the right place for your Loved One.

1. They visit facilities in your community constantly and know the staff and management, the quality and specialties of care, comparative prices and willingness to negotiate terms and rates..
2. They try to meet face to face with families to assess care needs and the family situation, both emotionally and financially. Many are former healthcare and senior care professionals, social workers, nurses, care managers, caregivers. They typically understand the challenges your Loved One faces and how the senior care system works.
3. Based on their initial assessment, they recommend a handful of facilities and discuss their pros and cons.
4. Once you have selected the facilities you want to visit, they accompany your family on tours of the facilities, pointing out the characteristics important to your considerations. They provide family sensitive, pressure free counsel to help your family make a decision.
5. They also negotiate terms and rates and help families coordinate the move in process. Typically, they visit the Loved One after move-in to ensure that all is well.

Don’t they just put your Loved One in a home to get a commission without regard to whether it is right for your Loved One? In a word, no.

There are hundreds even thousands of facilities in a community all wanting placements. Most pay commissions for them. Placement advocates get most of their referrals from professionals in their community — doctors, discharge planners, social workers. Elderlaw attorneys, geriatric care managers. Referrals dry up for agents who make placements that don’t work out. This is particularly true now that Medicare penalizes hospitals and Nursing homes for readmissions — which are often caused by placements into facilities providing substandard care.

Web Referral Agencies like A Place for Mom, Caring.com and AgingCare.com do not focus on the quality of care that facilities provide. They are really “lead generation” companies. Their huge marketing budgets or Search Engine Optimization campaigns persuade thousands of families to sign up for their service.

Then a family receives a preliminary phone call from a so-called “Family Advisor” who determines whether they can afford assisted living and their desired location. Then the Advisor sends your “lead” to the homes and facilities who have contracted to pay them a commission for each move-in.

Families report receiving literally dozens of calls from facility sales people pushing them to schedule a visit. I have found these sales people to be typically good hearted people; you don’t go into senior care sales to get rich. But it is their job to champion their facilities. Without counsel, you have no way to verify and compare.

Compare Advocates and Web Referral Sites

For all the independent knowledgeable counsel you get from web referral companies, you might as well Google the facilities “Assisted Living” or “Memory Care” in your desired community and schedule visits yourself. At least you’ll save yourself from the barrage of phone calls and emails from the facilities. Not to mention the repeated phone calls from your “Family Advisor” to press you to make a decision.

“Family Advisors” from Web Referral outfits typically have 150 client families at a time. Most have never visited the facilities they recommend. Family Advisors are hired for their telephone sales expertise not senior care background or expertise. They are quota driven telemarketers. Their compensation is based on the sales they make.

It is a very profitable business model. Private Equity giant Warburg Pincus bought control of A Place for Mom and there are plans to move the model overseas. Revenue is said to be $50 million annually. Caring.com is owned publicly traded Bankrate, Inc.