Throughout each year, we recognize and celebrate the “Caring Stars” — senior living communities (and in-home care agencies) that have earned great reviews from family caregivers and older adults on Last October, we told you about the Caring Stars of 2017, and next month we’ll announce the top-rated senior care providers for 2018. We love hearing from families about how the reviews are helping them select the best-match senior living communities for their elder loved ones, and we also appreciate hearing from senior living communities about the ways the award helps in their digital (and offline) marketing.

Holiday Retirement Was #1 in Caring Stars 2017
2017 was the first year that independent living communities were counted among the Caring Stars, and Holiday Retirement truly shined with the most senior living communities on the Caring Stars 2017 list than any other senior living organization nationwide. “We are honored so many of our independent communities have been recognized as leading senior living communities. We take great pride in providing exceptional living environments and the best quality services for our residents,” their CEO commented in a press release about their 34 winning communities. Their Caring Stars 2017 communities were also featured in local and business media, including the Des Moines Register, Cedar Valley Business Monthly, Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Waco Tribune-Herald, McKnight’s Senior Living, and other publications.

Digital Marketing Kudos for Pacifica Senior Living
Pacifica Senior Living’s assisted living and memory care communities have been earning the Caring Stars award since 2013, and they celebrated three winners in 2017: Pacifica Senior Living Ocala (which was 1 of 2 winners in its county), NewForest Estates (a two-time winner), and The Meridian at Westwood (the only community in their county to earn the distinction in 2017). Pacifica Senior Living’s director of digital communications, Lucie Barry-Punches actively outreaches to each of their communities and encourages them to participate in Caring Stars consideration each year by getting reviews from their happy residents and residents’ family members. The organization’s CEO and local executive directors also emphasize to staff the importance of online reviews, and they host building-to-building competitions and give shout-outs to those exceeding at getting great consumer reviews. We featured Pacifica Senior Living’s approach among the ‘success stories’ in our March 2016 webinar about getting and responding to reviews.

Overcoming Barriers to Build Reviews Collection & Achieve Caring Stars
Eskaton is another senior living organization and Caring Stars 2017 winner that was featured in our reviews webinar as a success story. They had nine Caring Stars of 2017, and were actively engaging their communities this summer and fall to qualify for Caring Stars 2018 too. “The drive to gather online reviews has come directly from our CEO, who has made a commitment to the Board that we focus on reviews because of the weight they have on the buying decision. As more and more people select a community using the Internet, online reviews becomes more and more important,” said Eskaton’s director of digital media, Lola Rain. Some of the Eskaton communities are low-income (such as Caring Star community, Eskaton Hazel Shirley Manor), and Eskaton also has a highly diverse resident population. To overcome language and technology barriers in posting reviews, their communities have enlisted the help of multi-lingual and tech-savvy volunteers, have relied on’s postcard review program for referral partners, and have taught digital literacy classes for residents and other local seniors as well.

50-Year Anniversary Celebrated at Caring Super Star Community
Senior living communities who have earned the award in three or more years are recognized as “Caring Super Stars”, and some achieve super star status in multiple years too! Dodge Park Rest Home is among those stellar communities that really stand out. Thus far, they have earned the Caring Stars award in five straight years, and continue to garner positive reviews from the seniors and resident family members they support. In September, more than 400 people gathered at the community to celebrate its 50-year anniversary, what co-owner Micha Shalev describes as “a 50 year tradition of excellent care”. They highlighted their Caring Stars distinction in the PR materials for the event, as well as on their website and offline marketing materials. Local press included testimonials from residents and residents’ families, some of whom published reviews on The town’s mayor also attended and spoke at the event, and gave the community a special plaque.

These are just a few of the many wonderful stories shared with us about Caring Stars communities. Who will be among the top rated for 2018? Look to local news and trade media for the announcement in November. Or subscribe to this blog for alerts (enter your email in the “Stay Informed” box in the right column of this page or our blog homepage).

Denise Graab

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