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Window-shopping or moving in? Seniors take their time choosing housing

July 14, 2016
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
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Seniors and their families might be using a much longer search process for a new residence than you think. Five percent take at least a year and a half, while three percent are researching their choices for more than two years, according to new data from A Place For Mom.

Older adults who search for senior living providers with the help of family members usually decide on a new home within 46 days, but seniors who shop alone could be in the search phase for more than three months, notes Q2 data from the company’s quarterly market research series. About 25 percent of seniors engage in the search process by themselves, but many of them abandon the process before moving in anywhere, the report shows.

Other contributing factors to the timeline for the housing search process include the urgency of needed care, financial resources and the mortgage factor. Seniors who are selling a home to pay for retirement housing search almost 50 percent longer than those without a home to sell.

The season affects the number of seniors who are actively shopping for senior housing, too. Peak search times for prospective residents are right after the November and December holidays and in late summer.

“There are many factors that contribute to how long it takes to find a senior living solution,” said Charlie Severn, vice president of brand marketing at in a press release. “The best results generally come when families are working together to find a solution for their parent or loved one. Almost 50 percent of the families we help are forced to find a quick senior living solution due to urgent healthcare needs. While we’re able to find great solutions for these situations, we want to encourage families to start more advanced planning so they have the time to do a complete evaluation of the options available in the market.”

APFM has released a new tool, Chart Your Course, to help families estimate their needs in searching for senior housing.