How to Prepare for Researching Senior Living Online

Researching senior living

Pencils, sharpened! Paper, handy! Attention focused! Coffee, hot! You’re ready to start your research of senior living communities! Now all you have to do is turn on the computer and everything you need to know is right there…that is, if you go about it efficiently and with purpose. At Senior Star, we know choosing a senior living community is a big decision, and the more prepared you are, the easier researching senior living online will be. So whether you’re researching for yourself or a loved one, we’ve put together some tips to consider before you go online.  

What to Know About Researching Senior Living Communities Online

  • Think of your computer as a giant library

Remember how you used to approach searching for information? You’d head to the library, consider the category where your book or periodical might be, and then try to be as specific with your search as possible. You’d make sure to review as much of the information as you could. It’s much the same with researching senior living online (except no card catalog or dusty microfilm). You’ll do much better getting the results you want if you first understand the vocabulary. 

For example, you want to understand each level of care available. Such as Independent living. Assisted living. Memory Care. You can literally start with these terms as search phrases. Or, if you have a specific question, go ahead and type that in as your search—such as, “what’s included in the cost of senior living?” or “A typical day in assisted living” and so on. You’ll be surprised how many helpful websites and articles pop up. 

  • Decide where you’d like to be. 

Once you’ve done your homework on the levels of care and decided what you want to search for, give some thought to the location. If you are researching senior living for you, think about what matters most:  being close to family, being close to favorite shopping, restaurants, and points of interest, being near natural areas and parks, and so on. You can then start to narrow your search for senior living communities in the desired locations.  

  • Take the time to thoroughly review each website.

Be sure to bookmark each community website that appeals to you so that you can easily return to it multiple times. Read all the information, including the news items, event information, reviews, newsletter, blog articles and check out the sample menu and activities calendar. Look for a photo gallery and videos. Notice if the community talks about its philosophy and approach. Do they list accreditation information? Do they talk about how it’s a great place to work? Do they discuss their strategies for keeping residents and staff safe and secure? What about philanthropy? You can learn a lot about the culture of a community by how it gives back to the industry.

At Senior Star, we put what we learn into action and commit our support to The American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), Walk to End Alzheimer’s®, and United Way. Reviewing a community’s website is a lot to take in at once, so come back to it a few times to see how the community strikes you. This is a must-do when researching senior living online.

  • Check out review websites, but be aware.

Reading the reviews of a senior living community is an important part of your search. You’ll often find reviews on the community website and on its social media pages. You can generally trust that these are authentic and honest. You also will find senior living review websites that contain reviews. Just remember that often reviews reflect the most passionate responses—either extremely positive or the result of a negative experience. 

If you do run across a negative review, note whether there was a response from the community. If nothing else, reading reviews can give insight into what life is like in the community, and spark some questions for you to ask when you make a visit. 

Maybe the best tip to know before researching senior living online is to take a breath, relax, and see where your questions take you. You’ll quickly pick up how to discern which articles or websites will be helpful. At Senior Star, we welcome your questions and interest.  

Our Senior Living Specialist would love to help you choose the lifestyle option that is the right fit, and connect you with the Senior Star community nearest you. Download our free guide Family Decision Toolkit for more in-depth and helpful information. Questions about senior living?  Contact us to learn more.


Click here to access our Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing