Connecting Families to Senior Living

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Data Insights Blog

After 15 years in business, we've learned a lot about how families think about senior living. We currently connect with more than 100,000 new families each month, and we help many of them through the entire process of a move to senior living, from initial inquiry to move-in. Our Advisors assist families in determining their needs, resolving family conflicts, sorting out finances, and managing their loved ones' transitions to senior living. This gives us unique access to large data sets that reveal interesting trends in both senior and caregiver behavior.

APFM's Sample Size

We Speak With 2.8% of the US Age 65+ Population Each Year

According to a Census Bureau report released in May 2014, the estimated population of US citizens age 65 and older was 43.1 million in 2012. While this population is growing rapidly, APFM's growth is keeping pace with or exceeding the pace of general population growth. We currently speak with more than 1.2 million new families each year, which means that, in any given year, we speak with about 2.8% of the total senior population. Over the course of any given five years, we speak with about 13.9% of the total population.

We Speak With 12% of the 85+ US Population Each Year

Even more dramatic is the percentage of the age 75+ and age 85+ population that we come into contact with each year. As of 2010, the year of the last official US Census, 13.1 million Americans were 75-to-84 years old, and 5.1 million were 85-to-94 years old. Roughly 90% of APFM yearly referrals fall into the first category, and 10% fall into the second category, meaning that we touch 5% and 12% of these total populations annually.

We've Helped 3.5% of all Seniors Who Currently Live in Assisted Living

According to the National Center for Assisted Living, just over 735,000 people live in assisted living settings. As measured by our move-in data, APFM personally helped 3.5% of current assisted living residents find their community.

Index of APFM Stats

  • Average age of senior who is looking for care: 81
  • Average age of senior at time of move: 83
  • Most frequently requested care type: Assisted living
  • Ratio of female to male inquiries: 2:1
  • Ratio of daughters to sons who inquire for senior: 3:1
  • Median stated budget: $2,500-$3,000
  • Percentage of seniors who have access to VA benefits: 41%
  • Percentage of seniors who have long-term care insurance: 6%

Recent Posts

How We Estimated Senior Housing Costs for 2,000 Cities and Towns at A Place for Mom

When you think of state-of-the-art machine-learning algorithms, I bet you don’t think about the senior living industry. At A Place for Mom, the nation’s largest senior living referral service, we’re changing that.In April, we launched our Senior Living Cost Index, the first free data source where seniors and their families can compare senior housing costs across over 2,000 cities and towns in the U.S. We couldn’t build it without solving challenging statistical and machine-learning problems.Warning: This post gets a little bit wonky.Screen shot from the Senior Living Cost Index pageThe Statistical ChallengesSmall local sample sizes  —  To build cost estimates for cities, metropolitan areas and states, we used a sample of over 50,000 senior move-ins to our senior living community partners. While 50,000 move-ins sounds like a large sample, it really isn’t once you break it out by city or even some states.Lack of data for some care types in some areas  —  What’s more, we do not have...More

2016 Family Quality of Life Study: Technical Report

Direct questions about the 2016 Family Quality of Life Survey to or @APlaceforData on Twitter.IntroductionA Place for Mom is North America’s largest senior living referral service. Private-pay assisted living communities made up over half of our move-ins between 2012 and 2015. There is much debate among researchers, policymakers, and families about the benefits of private-pay assisted living to seniors and their families. We designed a Family Quality of Life Survey (FQLS) to measure how moving to an assisted living community affects the quality of life of the senior who moves and of their family member who helps them move. Here we describe the methods of the survey and its key results.We found moving to an assisted living community is associated with greater overall quality of life for both the senior and family member. The move is also associated with greater quality of life across a range of dimensions including but not limited to: the senior’s...More

It’s a Great Time for Seniors to Sell Their Homes… but for How Long?

National home prices rose by 7 percent in 2015 over 2014 according to Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, or by 4.6 percent according to the S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index. Meanwhile, the growth of home values is accelerating again, according to the Zillow Home Value Index. By any metric, home prices are growing faster than the costs of senior living, which grew by 2.7 percent in 2015 according to our Senior Living Cost Index.All these numbers point to a hyper-competitive real estate market with historically low inventory but steady demand. That means it’s a good time for seniors to sell a home and move to senior living, reports McKnight’s Senior Living.But for how long?2015 Year-Over-Year Growth of Home Prices and Senior Living CostsRedfin Real-Time Data Center7.0 percent home price growthCase-Shiller National Index4.6 percent repeat-sale home price growthA Place for Mom Senior Living Cost Index2.7 percent senior living cost growthTrouble Ahead in the Housing...More

How Long is an Average Senior Care Search?

Families reach out to A Place for Mom (APFM) at various stages in their transition to senior care. Some families recognize a gradual decline in their loved one’s health and begin the search process long before it’s urgent. Other families have just experienced a medical emergency and need to move the same day.In fact, we find that 3% of families who move-in to one of our partner properties, inquired with us in the past 48 hours. On the other side of the coin, 11% of families take more than one year to move after starting their senior care search. For most families, reality lies between these two extremes.What happens to the average family? Just how pressing is families’ need when they begin their senior care search? When do they expect to move? When do they actually move? We turn to the data to find out.Move-in TimingOne of the first questions our  Senior Living Advisors ask families is when do they expect to move. To start, let’s look at the distribution of families by their expected...More

About APFM Data Insights

The Data Insights blog is original research and insights from A Place for Mom (APFM). We've compiled our observations and statistics from hundreds of millions of APFM user interactions, all to explore the data side of senior living.

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Data and Terminology Guide

Quick guide to our data, how we talk about it, and how it relates to the larger world:

Key Terms

  • Caregiver: Anyone who provides regular care for a senior or regularly works with a senior to manage his or her care.
  • Conversion Rate: The rate at which APFM inquiries result in actual move-ins to senior living communities. Essentially, this is our “move-in rate.”
  • Inquiry, Inquirer: When someone contacts APFM, by phone or via web form, we consider this an “inquiry.” The person who makes the inquiry, who is most often not the potential resident, is the “inquirer.”
  • Move-in: Occurs when a senior actually moves into a senior living facility after working with APFM.
  • Referral: An qualified inquiry made by a caregiver on behalf of a senior that is referred to a Senior Living Advisor.
  • Resident: We use this term not only to describe seniors who currently reside in senior living facilities, but to seniors who have been referred to APFM and are currently in the process of selecting a community, although we may occasionally use the terms “potential resident” or “referred senior” in reference to those who are mid-process.
  • Senior Care: This is a catchall term that used to describe any and all care that seniors receive, whether at home or at a facility.
  • Senior Living: We use this as a catchall term to describe everything from independent living communities to Alzheimer's care and everything in between. For more information, visit our complete guide to senior housing types.

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