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 Many Years of Senior Housing Is Your Home Worth?

Moving to a senior living community is a major financial decision regardless of your current care needs. Many families count on the sale of their home to at least partially fund their years in senior housing and care. How far could your home sale take you? A Place for Mom, the largest senior living referral service, teamed up with Redfin, a national real estate brokerage, to find out. It turns out senior living consumers in areas with higher home prices benefit most from a home sale.It Depends on Where You Live and How Much You Still OweIn some cities, selling your home could fully fund senior living with money to spare. In others, a real estate windfall won’t last a full year. On average across cities and types of care, a median-priced home sale could fund nearly five years of senior living at a median cost of $50,000 per year nationally.The Less Care You Need, the Further Your Home Sale Takes You Courtesy of RedfinTo put our findings in context, it helps to understand the main types...More

What’s Your Ideal Community? The Answer Isn’t As Political for Older Adults

Emily Badger, a reporter at the New York Times, wrote an article for The Upshot called What’s Your Ideal Community? The Answer Is Political. In it, she dug into a survey from Pew Research Center about political differences in American’s preferences over the type of community where they prefer to live. Conservatives prefer rural areas whereas liberals prefer the city. In this post, we look at how political differences in community preferences vary by age group. We find that older adults are less politically polarized about where they prefer to live, especially compared to Americans aged 30-49.The Ideal CommunityHere’s what we found:Americans aged 30-49 show the strongest political polarization in community preferences. Democratic-leaning Americans aged 30-49 prefer more urban settings, whereas Republican-leaning Americans aged 30-49 prefer more rural areas.Younger Millennials aged 18-29 are less politically polarized and unanimously prefer the city, although possibly less so among...More

Aging Nation Knows Little About How Regulation Affects Senior Housing Costs

For older American consumers, senior housing costs are rising slowly but steadily as the population ages. Government regulation is known to affect prices and price growth in other sectors like residential real estate. Yet we know little about how regulation affects senior housing costs. A Place for Mom looked at one type of regulation — land-use regulation — and found no link to the growth of senior housing costs. The finding raises questions about whether other types of regulation could affect senior housing costs, and how to measure their impact on the pocketbooks of aging Americans.Why We Need to Know What Drives the Growth of Senior Housing CostsThe older adult population in the U.S. will grow more than 50% by 2030 and will more than double by 2060 [1]. Half of today’s older adults will need assistance with activities of daily living [2]. Declining family sizes [3] and lack of publicly-funded options for the middle class [4] create an elder care gap pushing more seniors into...More

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

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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