Where your new residents are moving from

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The majority of people moving into senior living communities are coming from their own homes, according to respondents to a new survey.

San Mateo, CA-based website Caring.com, a Bankrate company that serves as a resource for family caregivers, in July and August polled 2,512 consumers who had visited its website and other senior care-related websites. Twenty-two percent of participants in the Caregiver Journey survey said that a loved one lives in an assisted living community, nursing home or other type of senior living setting, and of those residents, 65% had moved into the community from their own homes.

Seventeen percent of senior living residents whose loved ones took the survey had moved from a family caregiver's home into a senior living community, a number that Caring.com Vice President of Advertiser Sales and Marketing Katie Roper characterized as low. “The interesting thing about that is, if you move in with your adult daughter, you pretty much stay there,” she told McKnight's Senior Living.

Fifteen percent of the senior living residents discussed in the survey had moved from a different senior living community into the one in which they are living now. “We were surprised that that number was as high as it was,” Roper said.

Some whose loved ones had moved from one community to another volunteered that they were motivated by a bad experience such as a theft, she added, but not everyone whose loved one had moved provided a reason. The finding may prompt additional questions in next year's survey, Roper said.

Three percent of older adults residing in senior living communities had moved there from a hospital or rehabilitation center, the research found.

Overall medical issues prompted 70% of the moves discussed in this year's survey, up from 62% last year, Roper said. Loneliness accounted for 12% of moves. “That's consistent within the margin of error from last year,” she added.

Online reviews

When survey participants were asked in an open-ended (rather than multiple choice) question how they chose a particular senior living community, about one-third mentioned online reviews, Roper said. Of those who read online reviews, 48% said they trusted reviews on senior care-specific websites versus 19% for reviews on senior living community websites, 12% for Yelp reviews and 2% for reviews on Facebook, Roper said.

Rather than living in a senior living community, the majority of seniors whose loved ones participated in the survey (59%) live with a spouse or other relative who cares for them. “In about 7% of cases, the caregiver moved in with the person who is receiving care,” Roper said.

“On a macro level, there's not a lot of change,” from last year's survey, she added.

Family caregivers

Other findings:

  • 42% of family caregivers spend $5,000 or more per year on caregiving expenses. The most common out-of-pocket expenses for family caregivers are food and clothing (62%) and transportation (60%), followed by medications and other medical costs (44%).
  • Expenses are higher for family caregivers with loved ones who have dementia. Eighteen percent of them are more likely to spend $20,000 or more per year compared with 11% of caregivers to people in whom the disease has not been diagnosed.
  • 42% of family caregivers who work full-time or part-time said they have missed work. Of those who have missed work due to caregiving responsibilities, 24% have missed approximately a week, and 31% have missed two or more weeks of work.
  • 72% of employed family caregivers said that caregiving has had a strong or some negative effect on their job.
  • For currently employed caregivers, 60% said they have had to make changes to their work schedules, and 31% said they frequently arrive late to work or leave early.

Caring.com will host a free webinar sharing additional insights gleaned from survey responses from 2 to 3 p.m. Sept. 29. Those interested may register online.

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