Having a family member move into an assisted living facility can be daunting. Beyond the headache of moving, individuals and family members are tasked with finding a new residence that lives up to its hype. Moving into assisted living is in some ways harder than finding a new house – there are inspections to do, wait lists to get on, and very little data about how these facilities are managed. A new startup is trying to change that by corralling government inspections, resident reviews, and site visits into a comprehensive platform.
Arthur Bretschneider CEO and founder of Seniorly, knows how difficult it can be to move someone into assisted living. He’s a third generation senior living CEO. “I grew up in it,” he tells CivSource. Watching people navigate the system drove him to create Seniorly and push local leaders to do more on open data.
Seniorly recently introduced a series of new features to make finding the right senior community easier. These new resources include consolidated ratings and reviews, a “compare communities” function allowing families to analyze senior housing options side-by-side, and an upgraded family portal that helps relatives better communicate with each other as they make housing decisions. Right now the service is only available in California, but Bretschneider has plans to expand.
He’s also launching these new features as part of Open DataFest in Sacramento and National Sunshine Week. “The recession forced California to cut back on inspections, so a lot of the data we get is old. In some cases, facilities with the newest inspections only have them because someone filed a complaint. So we are trying to pull together all of the sources of information we can to provide updated reviews,” Bretschneider says. “We’ve also spoken to policymakers about the need to refresh this data more often.”
Sacramento is the next expansion of service for Seniorly. Right now, the company works with over 400 senior communities in the Bay Area (about 20% of the local senior community industry). More than fifty percent of the small and medium-sized businesses that have signed up on the Seniorly platform have no other web presence outside of the Seniorly site. There are also listings available for facilities in Los Angeles, and all of the review data is provided to users at no cost.
“The goal is to bring this research online and make an outdated process easier. I hope we can be a model for the industry and for others as well,” Bretschneider said.