I am so tired of having amateur experiences at high end senior living communities.

I came out of ALFA feeling extremely optimistic about the evolution of Senior Living. After having dozens of great conversations with senior living leaders it feels like we are at the beginning of a major paradigm shift that will result in having more engaged residents, families and employees

And then . . .

The day I left ALFA I had an appointment in Scottsdale. With a little time between the end of the appointment and needing to be back at the airport I went looking for a senior living community to visit. Just 2 miles away I found a high end senior living community operated by a national brand that I had never visited.

How It Went Front Desk Person (FD): “Can I help you?”

Me: “I am looking for some information on your community.”

FD: “Are you looking for Assisted Living or Independent Living?”

Me: “I write about senior living and visit various senior living communities to learn more.”

FD: “Oh . . . . . . well no one can help you: they are all giving tours or will be giving tours.”

Me: Verbal silence [Thinking to myself: “Seriously, ‘will be giving tours,’ nothing. What do I do or say now”] I was at a total loss of words.

FD: “I can give you a brochure.”

Me: “Ummm . . . ok.”

Me: “Do you have any vacancies?”

FD: “Yes we do”

Me: “Okay”

Is This Really Okay?

I walked back to my car fuming, frustrated and, more than anything else, baffled. It didn’t help when I opened the exquisite, expensive, folder style brochure and the first thing I found was a form letter from the CEO of the company offering a warm welcome to the community. I found myself wondering:

  • Does the CEO know?
  • Does the executive director know?
  • Does the regional director know?
  • More than anything else I mostly wonder how it is that a blow-off, “all but prospects” culture exists.

More Questions

  • What if I were a local reporter doing a story on the value of assisted living in the Scottsdale area?
  • What if I were doing an exposé like ProPublica or the San Diego Union? I would believe there was something amiss and become sneaky and underhanded.
  • Why didn’t this person at least ask me a few more questions to see if maybe I deserved just a bit more attention?

Finally: What if I had been a prospect? Would someone have magically found time?

This Drives Me Crazy

How do senior living communities get so exclusive they think they can afford to not tell anyone and everyone about how great their senior community it?


This building has rates from $50,000 to more than $80,000 per year. That is expensive casualness. I hope and pray they are less casual about their resident care.

In order to drive to my appointment and this non-tour, I rented a car from the Enterprise counter in my hotel. They got just $60 from me for that one day rental and they treated me like I was the boss.

We must do better than this . . . . and . . . what makes me most crazy is that this is not that hard a problem to solve. And it makes you kind of wonder: if it is this hard to get something like this right, how can they possibly get resident care right?

Steve Moran