SEATTLE, July 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A Place for Mom® (www.APlaceforMom.com), the nation's largest senior living referral service, released data today showing that half of families searching for a senior living solution find one within 46 days and nearly a quarter find it within three weeks. Several factors affect search length, with urgency of care needs having the greatest impact, followed by relationships and finances. Seniors searching without support from friends or family require the most time to find a senior living solution, taking more than twice as long (95 days) as seniors that search with support. The new findings stem from the second part of a quarterly series of reports produced by A Place for Mom to help families and seniors plan for the future and are released in conjunction with Chart Your Course, an interactive tool designed to allow people to estimate how long they will take to find senior living.
"There are many factors that contribute to how long it takes to find a senior living solution and we want to ensure that both seniors and their loved ones have the right information and tools available to plan ahead," said Charlie Severn, vice president of brand marketing at APlaceforMom.com. "The best results generally come when families are working together to find a solution for their parent or loved one. Almost 50 percent of the families we help are forced to find a quick senior living solution due to urgent healthcare needs. While we're able to find great solutions for these situations, we want to encourage families to start more advanced planning so they have the time to do a complete evaluation of the options available in the market."
The new Chart Your Course tool helps families plan their senior living search by showing them the typical search length for consumers with similar care needs, finances and relationships to the senior.
Care Needs. The urgency of care needed by a senior is the strongest predictor of how long it takes to find a senior living solution. In fact, care needs are twice as important as all of the other factors combined. Fully mobile seniors take 58 days to find a senior living solution, which is 18 days longer than seniors who use a walker (40 days) and 37 days longer than bedridden seniors (21 days). Similarly, seniors who need bathing assistance find a solution 28 days (44 percent) faster than fully mobile seniors, while those that require medication assistance spend 27 days (42 percent) less time searching in comparison.
Relationships. Seniors searching for senior housing with support from family, friends or a professional have an advantage over those without help. In total, 25 percent of seniors seeking a senior living solution do so by themselves. However, seniors who search alone only represent 7 percent of all senior housing move-ins, which shows that seniors who have help are much more successful in their search. If a senior does find a senior living solution by themselves, it takes about twice as long as someone with assistance (51 days for retirement communities; 47 days for assisted living).
Finances. Seniors with higher incomes and larger monthly budgets for senior care typically take more time to find a senior living solution, unless they need assisted living. Families with a monthly budget of $6,000 or more search 55 percent (29 days) longer for retirement communities than those with a monthly budget between $1,500 and $2,000. However, this changes when a senior has acute care needs because families with higher budgets tend to find a solution immediately in that scenario (11 days faster compared to families in similar situations with a monthly budget of $1,500 to $2,000). If a family's monthly budget is on the lower end of the cost scale (below $1,500), the search takes up to 13 days (25 percent) longer compared to those with higher monthly budgets, most likely due to needing more time to locate an affordable solution.
Seniors selling a home to fund an independent living community search 47 percent (29 days) longer than similar seniors without a home to sell. However, seniors with acute care needs selling a home take only one week longer to find a solution when compared to seniors that have acute care needs and do not need to sell a home. This shows that the relationship between selling a home and search length is greatly reduced when care needs are more urgent. Although it takes longer to find senior living when a home needs to be sold, the housing market currently benefits senior sellers and now is a good time to sell to fund senior housing.
Search Area Income Level. Families searching for senior living in wealthier areas find it faster than seniors searching in middle-income areas, while families searching in low-income areas also have faster search lengths. Seniors who search in zip codes with an average household income of $177,821 (equivalent to Armonk, New York, where IBM headquarters is located and where one of the highest median income levels in the country exists) find senior living one week (16 percent) faster than seniors who search in areas representative of the national median household income ($53,482). Seniors searching in very low-income areas also find senior living a few days faster, either because of low demand in these areas or because they have limited resources and move into the first community they can afford.
Time of Year. The peak search times for senior living solutions are immediately following end-of-year holidays (6 percent longer than the average month) and August (7 percent longer) after family members see aging loved ones. Families who start looking in January search a few days longer than average because they're making a plan for the rest of the year, meaning their search is less driven by urgent care needs. Families also search a few days longer than average during the summer because many are selling homes to fund senior living, while good weather encourages families to tour more communities. Families who start searching during the holidays — when most people are busy, the weather is bad and urgent care needs are more likely — move in a few days faster than families who search after the holidays or during the summer. The month with the most senior living inquiries is January, with inquiry volume 19 percent higher than average.
Extended Searches. Some families searching for senior living take extra time before making a decision and moving in. In fact, nearly 5 percent of seniors take one and a half years to move into a senior living solution, while 3 percent take two or more years. Families that need care but have limited financial resources may delay their transition by living with a family member or using home care for several months before moving. Other times seniors aren't emotionally ready to move into senior living, with 1.3 percent of families reporting that they don't expect to move until over a year after they inquire (on average, however, these families move in after six months).
"Hourly care is a great option for families who need memory care but want to ease into a care setting," said Lesley Yanak, director of marketing at Koelsch Communities. "A loved one can join one of our communities for the afternoon while the caregiver runs errands, knowing their loved one is being cared for and enjoying their time. Families also feel less stress when they plan early. Completing health history forms before a crisis can minimize stress and expedite a move if necessary. Seniors looking for independent living may feel less stress by moving slowly into a community while keeping their home, giving them choices without a rush to make decisions."
The data released today is the second part of a quarterly series of reports and tools produced by A Place for Mom to help families and seniors plan for the future. In April 2016, findings from the National Senior Living Cost Index were announced detailing the annual cost trends in the United States for three primary senior living categories: Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care. A new, interactive planning tool was also developed to allow families access to the information within the National Senior Living Cost Index to help plan for future senior living costs.
About A Place for Mom
A Place for Mom, Inc. is North America's largest senior living referral service with more than 400 senior living Advisors providing resources and personalized assistance in finding senior living options. A Place for Mom works with a nationwide network of over 17,000 providers to help families find options based on a loved one's stated needs, preferences and budget. This may include independent senior housing, home care, residential care homes, assisted living communities and specialized Alzheimer's memory care. The service is offered at no charge to families as providers pay a fee to A Place for Mom. For more information, visit www.aplaceformom.com, call 1-877-311-6099 or visit one of A Place for Mom's social networks at Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Senior Living Blog and Pinterest.
About the Data
This report is based on a sample of over 125,000 families who A Place for Mom helped move into a retirement community, senior apartment, assisted living community, residential care home or memory care community in the U.S. between 2012 and 2015. A Place for Mom believes its partner communities represent well over half of all senior living community residents in the U.S. When a family calls A Place for Mom, the first thing discussed is their care needs, finances and relationship to the prospective resident.
To measure the relationships between search length and the predictors, statistical models were built that estimate the median, 75th percentile and 90th percentile of days between first contact and move-in as a complex function of the predictors of interest. The statistical models are built from thousands of competitions between simpler models containing only a subset of the predictors. Predictor importance is measured by the percent of competitions won by a particular set of predictors. In addition to building these statistical models, key summary statistics were queried from A Place for Mom's database.
SOURCE A Place for Mom