has released its Best of 2017 Awards, honoring those operators that have received high marks on the Austin, TX-based online ratings and reviews site in 2016.

Brookdale Senior Living has the greatest number of winning communities on the list, at 121. Of the 10 providers that have the most sites on the list, Spectrum Retirement has the highest percentage of its properties meeting the award criteria, at 53%. The entire top 10 list appears in the accompanying graphic.

“These awards highlight providers who are doing a great job of providing excellent care and excellent service to families,” Ben Opps, general manager of, told McKnight’s Senior Living. “It sounds like common sense, but it really is communities who are rallied around putting the family first and trying to figure out how to keep their customers happy.”

To be eligible for the honor, operators must have maintained an average overall rating of at least 4.5 out of 5 stars from reviewers and must have received at least three reviews in 2016, according to To be included on the site to begin with, they must provide at least one of the following types of care, services or housing: independent living, assisted living, memory care, low-income seniors housing, home healthcare or skilled nursing.

More than 1,000 senior living care, service and housing providers in the United States and Canada are recognized on this year’s list, the fourth one compiled by the website. The list represents the top 1% of senior living options nationwide, according to

The number of winners has grown as senior living operators place more importance on their online reputation and realize that online research by prospective residents and their families influences their tour and move-in decisions, Opps said.

“Since last year, we added 30% more winners to our list,” he said. “More providers are paying attention to this, and my hope is that … this reflects that the quality of care is going up because there’s more transparency in the industry.”

Opps said that the number of award winners has increased 228% since the program’s inception, even as inclusion criteria has become more stringent.

More than half of this year’s award winners (53%) offer more than one type of care, services or housing. The assisted living category is the most represented on the list, with 57% of winners offering it. Memory care is the next highest offering, being provided by 46% of award winners, and independent living is offered by 42% of winners.

San Antonio was the city with highest number of winners, at 20, and California was the state with the highest number of winners, at 200. The accompanying tables contain the top 10 cities and states with the highest number of winning communities.

Tips to improve rankings

Opps offered advice to communities looking to improve their rankings in the future.

In good or bad reviews on, he said, the three topics family members most frequently mention — and it is family members who most often are writing the reviews, he said — are staff and care/service quality; food (where applicable); and location.

Regarding location, Opps said, reviewers typically comment on how convenient it is for them to visit a loved one based on the community’s proximity to their home or workplace. “That’s not very actionable, but it is a fact of life, and it’s something for all of us to keep in mind as we help people make these moves,” he said.

Overall, Opps said, achieving a spot on’s list “starts with paying attention to what your customers are saying. That means, if you’re getting feedback from residents and families, acting on that feedback to give them a better customer experience.”

Another important step, he said, “is really making this online feedback process part of the routine.” Multiyear winners, Opps noted, ask prospective residents and their families to write online reviews if they’ve had positive tour experiences, and then the communities include snippets of those reviews on their own websites and link to the review website, which can be seen as an unbiased third party.

“Another tip,” Opps said, “would be asking for reviews on Facebook or through their newsletter.”