What impact will JD Powers Senior Living Consumer Survey have on the industry?

By Steve Moran

A little over a week ago we published a story that looked at the JD Powers first ever senior living survey. My good friend David Slomovic, the author of the Unicorn Project, a book that takes an honest look at the senior living industry, was deeply involved in the development of the JD power survey. Last week I did a follow-up interview to explore the industry reaction to the survey results.

David has more than 20 years in the senior living space as an owner/operator and executive director. He was also a criminal defense attorney in the public defender’s office.

Here is what he had to say (you can watch the entire interview at the bottom of this article):

  • “I have found the reaction fascinating because it’s been a mix of exuberance and terror.” He goes on to explain that people are very interested in the survey because it is groundbreaking but there is some real fear that it will expose shortcomings.

  • More than anything people are really curious to figure out what it will mean to the industry.

  • David believes there will be a wide adoption of the survey process by senior living communities as a way to provide more transparency for both consumers and operators.

  • The big benefit this survey brings to the industry is a common set of standards that allows communities and consumers to figure out the best and the rest.   

  • It is really the first time the voice of the senior living consumer has been heard in a big way.  

  • David talked a lot about the negative perception of senior living in the consumer marketplace and he believes a consumer survey like this will help to change that perception.

  • It also gives senior living operators the ability to take an honest look at how consumers view them. This can be seen as good or bad, but David believes it will mostly help operators figure out the areas that are most important to work on.

It is clear the jury is still out on the impact of the survey, and some of the other things JD Power is working on with respect to senior living, but it has the potential to be hugely impactful. Maybe most significantly we are seeing a brighter light being shown on the senior living sector and this might mean three things:

  1. It will improve the quality and variety of what we offer.

  2. It will make senior living more attractive to more people.

  3. It will cause some big organization like Google or Amazon to take a run at the space.

While I think it is unlikely it also has the potential to do real damage . . . and lastly, it might mean nothing.