Newsweek has announced plans to publish its first-ever ranking of US continuing care retirement communities, with results based on surveys that are underway.
The “America’s Best Continuing Care Retirement Communities 2024” rankings will be published Nov. 29, Josh Smith, Newsweek’s director of rankings, told McKnight’s Senior Living. Newsweek is partnering with global market research and consumer data firm Statista in the effort, which the companies expect will be an annual undertaking.
“Building on the interest in our nursing home ranking, Newsweek wants to help readers make informed choices with the important decision of selecting a CCRC,” Smith said. “We recognize the changing landscape of eldercare and aim to help consumers find the right facility for themselves or a loved one.”
That changing landscape of eldercare, according to Newsweek, involves a growing population of Americans aged 65 or more years and the expectation that “the request for retirement housing that offers various levels of care options will increase over the next decades.”
The new offering builds on the media brand’s other healthcare-related rankings.
Newsweek’s nursing home rankings first were published in 2020, Smith said. Those rankings are based on nursing home-specific surveys but indicate whether a nursing home is part of a CCRC (also known as life plan communities).
This year, Smith said, in addition to the nursing home rankings, Newsweek has published or will publish rankings of physical rehabilitation centers, addiction treatment centers, oncology hospitals, fertility clinics, maternity hospitals, children’s hospitals, specialized hospitals in the Asia Pacific region, hospitals around the world, specialized hospitals around the world and smart hospitals around the world.
“Healthcare is an important topic for Newsweek’s readers,” he said. “We constantly evaluate the needs of our readers and their interest in healthcare topics.”
The media outlet also has published rankings such as the “Most Trustworthy Companies in America,” which includes a Health Care & Life Sciences category that in 2023 ranked long-term care providers such as National HealthCare Corp. and Life Care Centers of America.
Newsweek has not ranked stand-alone independent living, assisted living or memory care communities, Smith said.
Rankings versus ratings
The new CCRC rankings will differ from US News & World Report’s “Best Senior Living” lists of senior living communities. The US News effort, which was publicly announced in 2021 and first published in 2022, rates various types of communities — independent living, assisted living, memory care and CCRCs — as “best” if they meet certain criteria based on the results of consumer satisfaction surveys of residents and their families conducted at participating communities. But communities are not ranked in comparison with one another.
By contrast, Newsweek’s “America’s Best Continuing Care Retirement Communities” effort will be rankings, will be focused on CCRCs and will include feedback from workers and others gathered from two online surveys open to anyone choosing to participate who meets certain criteria.
One survey is of current and former residents of CCRCs, people who know current or recent residents of CCRCs, and people who are looking for CCRCs for themselves or friends or loved ones. The other survey is of people who work in CCRCs or people who are associated with CCRCs through their work as healthcare professionals.
“A total score will be calculated to determine the list,” Statista told McKnight’s Senior Living. Specifics about the methodology and how the rankings will be presented will be shared when results are published.
“There will be a methodology document published with the ranking which describes the methodology in detail and includes the individual weights,” the company said.
Surveys open through Sept. 26
In the meantime, the surveys are open for participation through Sept. 26. Links to the surveys are posted on Newsweek’s website.
Data will be collected on CCRCs in 20 states: California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Iowa, Kansas and Virginia.
Residents and prospective residents and their friends and family members are being asked to rank the importance of care, safety, staffing, accommodations, food, services and financial factors in their choice of a CCRC and to rate up to eight CCRCs on each of those factors as well as indicate on a scale of 1 to 10 whether they would recommend each CCRC.
CCRC workers and those whose jobs associate them with CCRCs are being asked to share the type of work they do and which CCRC they work in or are associated with. Additionally, they are asked to share information on three to eight CCRCs in the state in which they work (other than any with which they are associated), as well as information on up to eight CCRCs outside of the state in which they work, ranking the lists of CCRCs overall and rating each CCRC on a scale of 1 to 10 on independent living, assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care.
All survey-takers are being asked to share demographic information and email addresses for data validation purposes.
Smith said that Newsweek has not contacted providers directly about the “America’s Best Continuing Care Retirement Communities 2024” effort, although Statista said that the survey has been promoted on various social media channels.
Growing interest in senior living
The Newsweek program is one of a growing number of recognition programs designed to help senior living communities stand out from their competition as consumers search for options. In addition to the aforementioned US News program, for instance, Fortune’s “Best Workplaces for Aging Services” lists and J.D. Power’s Senior Living Satisfaction Study both were launched in 2018, NRC Health’s “Customer Approved” and “Employee Approved” awards began in 2019 (but have since been disbanded), and Caring.com’s “Caring Stars” program has been around since 2012.