Let’s start off with the truth – everything has a cost.

It has been said that nothing in life is free. So, if you’re given something for free you should question what it really costs you.

I am very passionate about this issue because I’m in the business of helping clients navigate the often treacherous waters of our healthcare system. I offer my knowledge, experience, resources and caring compassion as I work with my clients on their specific needs. My services do come with a cost attached. As a small business owner, I must charge fees to keep my business running.

Naturally, when I saw a large advertisement in our local newspaper offering “free” services to help families with senior living decisions, I was shocked. I shuddered when thinking that someone would read this and really believe it’s a free service. What was even more disturbing to me was that this particular franchise attempted to earn readers’ trust by having a former Good Morning America host as their spokesperson!

The ad stated in bold print that they know “Senior Living”, that they’ll find the “Right Place” for your family member and, to seal the deal, they stated, “There’s no cost to you!”

If you do a Google search for ‘senior placement assistance’ you’ll find that three large organizations dominate the senior living market. All three suggest that you should make a quick phone call to their assisted living referral service or placement agency to provide you with multiple recommendations on senior living communities in your specific geographic region.

The goal of these referral services is to quickly help you locate a variety of care homes that you can tour. These referrals help to bypass the often difficult time of finding out this information on your own.

And they claim to do this for “Free!” Here’s what really happens when you make the call:

  • They’ll gather specific information about the person that needs care and your relationship to that person.
  • They’ll provide you with information on several senior living communities in your area and quickly make referrals to those communities.
  • They act fast because they want to get credit for the referral so that they will get paid by the community should your loved one move in.

Yes, they get paid! Not by you, but by the senior living community. Typically they get the equivalent of the first months’ rent in compensation — on average about $4000. That’s a LOT of money!

They get paid even if you move in and find out that this community is not really a good fit for your needs.

What they don’t tell you is that they don’t have contracts with all the senior living communities in your area. So, the referrals they give are actually only to the communities that they have a business relationship with and can pay them the referral fee.

Maybe you’re thinking this is just sour grapes for me to write about this type of business. Maybe even that I somehow resent how much money I’m losing to these competitors.

Actually, I’m frustrated that what they offer isn’t always what is best for that specific client. They typically make referrals without ever seeing the client! Also, they can’t always offer the client a referral to the best communities in their area. (Some of the best communities do not engage with referral services) — because they don’t need to.

When a call comes into Severino Health Services from someone that needs help deciphering the various senior living communities in Central Pennsylvania, here’s what I do:

  • I meet with the person needing the service and their family members.
  • My first assessment takes at least two hours so that I can have a comprehensive picture of the client’s needs and desires.
  • I make notations and watch first-hand, how that client functions, and how much help they’ll need to succeed in their new environment.

Families that call me usually aren’t sure where to start and have no idea what would be the best fit for their loved one. They need someone that can give them an honest opinion of the local senior communities. Someone who has set foot in these locations and regularly visits them to make sure they are providing a level of care that the client would need now and in the future.

That person is me.

My services aren’t free. But you get what you pay for — a local expert in senior care that takes the time to understand your specific needs and makes every effort to help guide you in making the best placement decisions for you or your family member. Call Severino Health Advisors today to get started.