Google recently released a survey of search engine trends entitled 2014: A Year in Search. This survey included in part a look into how Baby Boomers and their parents utilize the internet to search for senior living communities. Google surveyed over 2,000 younger and older Baby Boomers in the age categories of 50-58 and 59-68. Google asked questions around the topic of researching senior living choices, including what they generally type in to search, and what specific features they initially look for when beginning the search process. Approximately 75 percent of those surveyed utilized search engines (usually Google) to learn about senior housing options.

The Google survey discovered that there are differences in search priorities that depend on whether the person is looking for themselves or researching on behalf of someone else, i.e., a spouse or family member. When a Baby Boomer is trying to inform themselves on senior housing, they tend to search for independent living communities, or 55+ active communities. Typically, it seems that seniors searching for their own retirement community tend to be more independent and require less in the way of assisted living. These Baby Boomers are searching for a strong community with an active and social lifestyle, pet policies, transportation options, room size, and quality of food.

According to the survey, when Baby Boomers search online for senior housing options for another person, the results shift. When searching for a loved one, they tend to search for assisted living communities or skilled nursing. Search queries in this situation tend to be more interested in learning types of care and medical services offered at communities, as well as proximity to hospitals or staff to resident ratio. It logically follows that when a Baby Boomer is searching for another person, that person tends to require more care.

Google’s survey also analyzed the general internet use of Baby Boomers. It found that generally, the Baby Boomer generation tends to spend approximately 23 hours per week on the internet. The majority of those 23 hours are spent catching up on the news, online shopping, reading email, utilizing social networks and watching videos.

A Place for Mom Survey

A Place for Mom also conducted a survey regarding senior care search trends. The survey found that assisted living is a much more commonly searched term than senior living or nursing homes. The survey also showed that the searches for skilled nursing, senior housing, and memory care have all increased exponentially over the past 10 years. This demonstrates a change in the public’s education on senior living. Nick White, Senior Marketing Manager at A Place for Mom, said: “In 2013, the top two search terms would have been assisted living and nursing homes. In 2014, it’s assisted living and senior living. It has changed that quickly. This signals a profound and rapid change in the consumer — what people are looking for and how they are looking.” The results of this survey could prove to be extremely useful for those involved in marketing activities for senior living communities.

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