Assisted living residents and their family members are almost 15% more likely to recommend their senior living communities to other friends and relatives if they feel engaged, according to research from consulting firm Holleran.

Independent living residents are approximately 7.5% more likely to recommend a community if they are engaged, Holleran said.

“An increase in willingness to recommend translates into increased occupancy and an increase in connection among residents on campus,” said Seth Anthony, director of sales, marketing and business development at Holleran.

The answer to why a difference exists between assisted living and independent living is “multifaceted,” he told McKnight’s Senior Living.

“Though, from our experience, one of the biggest factors is expectation,” Anthony said. “Independent living residents tend to have high expectations of their communities, making it harder to truly ‘wow’ them to the point of increasing their likelihood to recommend a campus. Conversely, assisted living residents and responsible parties are more focused on health needs. Organizations that are able to meet health needs, and maintain high levels of engagement in assisted living, are much harder to come by. That makes recommending those organizations easier.”

Holleran’s proprietary benchmarks include the opinions and views of more than 200,000 residents, employees and other stakeholders of senior living organizations, all collected within the past two years. By analyzing these data, Holleran’s researchers are able to find correlations that both reinforce commonly held beliefs and shatter preconceived notions about living in a retirement community.