The Washington Post, Senate Special Committee — and Good News, Too

By Jim Nelson | May 17, 2024

The Washington Post is at it again. One critical story about the senior living industry after another. Beginning in December 2023, the Post began a series of articles that have relentlessly painted a negative picture of our industry. Early fallout from these articles got the U.S. Senate involved; in January, the first hearing in more than 20 years was held by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, during which congressional leaders called for a government study on industry pricing and transparency. The Senate Special Committee also used that opportunity to announce a website and a way for consumers to share their experiences with senior living operators; the committee also suggested that increased federal involvement may be necessary.

This time, The Post has gone after referral service A Place for Mom based on a review of inspection reports of senior living companies on APFM’s annual “Best of Senior Living” lists from 2023 and 2024; the rub here, the paper said, is that a large percentage of those companies and communities had been cited for various violations during those years. The Post reportedly compared 863 “Best of Senior Living” award recipients during those years to 28 state inspection reports, and the results are, frankly, shocking: 324 of those award winners (37.5 percent) had been cited.

A Place for Mom’s site says it helps 700,000 people annually, but the Washington Post said it gives a thumbs-up to communities and even names them “Best Of” when they’ve been cited for providing substandard care.

Obviously, a series of investigative articles by a major newspaper is not good news. The fact that a series of articles is warranted suggests that our industry has some issues to resolve, and I hope that having this spotlight focused on senior living is causing CEOs, COOs, and executive directors across the nation to take deep dives into the micro details of their operations so that there is no longer a need for The Washington Post, the U.S. Senate, or any other such entity to question the integrity or efficacy of senior living companies.

But let’s be honest: The Washington Post, for all of its efforts, has thus far failed to show a balanced perspective. The newspaper is focused on negatives, but there are positives in this industry as well, and as a way of balancing the scales I thought I’d spotlight a few of the good news stories that we’ve shared on Senior Living News in recent months.

Earlier this week, we posted about how Meadow Ridge residents raised more than $170,000 to help the staff and associates who care for them. Too bad Meadow Ridge wasn’t an award recipient this year, because its residents sure seem to be happy with their level of care.

In a guest-written article, Christian Living Communities’, Vice President of Communications and Philanthropy Pam Sullivan wrote about how her company is building belonging into the fabric of its organization.

On Valentine’s Day this year, residents at Liberty Place in West Chester, Ohio, spread smiles to unsuspecting coffee lovers by decorating more than 100 coffee cup sleeves with affirmations of love and then helped hand them out to patrons of a local coffee house.

Lady residents at Sagora Senior Living participated in their own Silver Bachelorette contest earlier this year, based on the popular Golden Bachelorette reality TV series. The grand prize was a dinner-and-movie date; the inaugural Sagora Silver Bachelorette was Ms. Dorothy Robertson of Bristol Park at Eagle Mountain in Fort Worth, Texas.

The 14 residents of Juniper Village at Paramus, calling themselves the Juniper Communities Perennial Players, recently put on a seated, reader’s-theater style performance of Guys and Dolls. The residents have been putting on adapted Broadway musicals since 2018.

And in another guest article, Four Thousand Five Hundred Reasons to Smile, Legacy Willow Bend Volunteer Engagement Manager Brian Lovelace wrote about how the community’s Knit and Crochet Club has made and donated more than 42,000 items over the years, with 4,519 items donated to 15 Dallas-area organizations this year alone.

It’s startling what the Washington Post has uncovered about our industry and make no mistake, if the paper’s allegations are true, then something needs to be done to correct the issues. But in all fairness, there’s at least one more side of the senior living coin, and that side also deserves being highlighted.


Jim Nelson

Jim Nelson is the Editor at Senior Living News, an online trade publication featuring curated news and exclusive feature stories on changes, trends, and thought leaders in the senior living industry. He has been a writer and editor for 30+ years, including several years as an editor and managing editor. Jim covers the senior living sector for SeniorLivingNews.com, distributes its e-newsletter, and moderates panel discussions for the company’s HEALTHTAC events.

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