By Jim Nelson | November 20, 2023
A recently released J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Senior Living Satisfaction Study says that senior living communities have managed to “maintain steady levels of resident and family-member satisfaction” in spite of costs that have steadily risen about 5.5 percent annually industrywide so far this year. Overall satisfaction, according to a press release, is largely flat year over year among residents for independent senior-living providers and among family members/decision-makers for assisted-living/memory-care providers.
“Coming out of the pandemic, the major challenge for senior living providers was staffing,” said Andrea Stokes, hospitality and senior living practice lead at J.D. Power. “The good news is that we’re no longer seeing declines in resident satisfaction linked directly to staff reductions or facilities management. However, the new challenge is residents’ perception of value for money paid for independent living. Rents continue to rise considerably, and lower ratings provided for prices paid for services received are creating a drag on resident satisfaction.”
The U.S. Senior Living Satisfaction Study measures resident satisfaction with the nation’s largest providers of independent living for seniors, as well as family-member/decisionmaker satisfaction with the largest providers of assisted living/memory care service.
Overall satisfaction is measured across the following six categories of senior living: buildings and grounds; staff; dining; price paid for services received; resident activities; and resident apartment/living unit.
The just-released study is based on 3,838 responses from residents living in an independent community, and from family members/decisionmakers on behalf of residents of assisted-living/memory-care communities, within the previous three years. Reponses were collected from July through August of 2023.
Since last year, the average satisfaction among the families/decisionmakers of assisted-living/memory-care community residents is up eight points to 837 (on a 1,000-point scale). This increase is driven, J.D. Power found, by increases in satisfaction with community staff (up 11 points) and with resident activities ( up nine points).
However, independent-living residents’ “satisfaction with value” is down 15 points to 604.
Notably, the study revealed that the ability for family members or decisionmakers of assisted-living/memory-care residents to easily contact their community’s executive director increases the average overall satisfaction score by 118 points; however, it also revealed that only 48 percent of family members/decisionmakers say it’s easy to contact their respective ED.
In good news: In both independent living and assisted living/memory care, satisfaction with resident activities has increased year over year, with the speculation being that this is because providers have been reinstating many in-person group activities as we get further removed from the worst of the pandemic.
For the fifth consecutive year, Life Care Services ranked highest in independent-living resident overall satisfaction with a score of 827. Second place on the list belonged to Five Star Senior Living at 744.
When it comes to family-member/decisionmaker overall satisfaction with assisted-living/memory-care providers, Life Care Services again ranked #1 with a score of 869; Atria Senior Living was a close second with 855 points, and Frontier Management was right behind (846) in third.
J.D. Power, which has offices in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific, has been delivering industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years.