Dear Editor of The Oregonian & Oregon Live,
Thank you for your recent series “Selling Senior Care: Kept in the Dark.” It’s true, when consumers search for senior care housing, it’s a daunting task. Finding information for making informed decisions is time-consuming and stressful. Consumers search the internet and weed through marketing hype. It’s hoped they’re looking up facility complaint history. But consumers don’t know what they don’t know.
The better alternative is calling a senior referral agency. Consumers seeking senior housing can rely on a senior referral agency as a “one stop” resource. There are several qualified agencies in Oregon. They specialize in helping seniors and families find exceptional care in their area.
The best place for finding an expert referral agent is through the Oregon Senior Referral Agency Association (OSRAA). OSRAA is a member organization. The organization developed a Code of Ethics and Best Practice Standards. An older adult’s well-being depends on prudent decisions. OSRAA members arm them with the information they need.
Referral agents make referrals to senior housing based on a comprehensive intake. Agents determine care needs, social preferences, goals and budget. A list of communities matching a senior’s criteria is compiled. Personal help in touring communities is part of an agency’s service. As is a follow up call after a senior’s move.
OSRAA members pre-tour and pre-qualify any facilities they refer. Agencies maintain information on senior facilities. This includes data on:
- care provided,
- ownership history
- and complaint background.
Families receive education on other resources like Veteran’s benefits and government programs.
Like you, OSRAA members support better access to public disclosure files. But families often don’t take time to search it out. Relying on a referral agent provides access to information. Families can make informed decisions. Working with a referral agent helps ensure safer transitions for our vulnerable seniors.
It’s critical that families get accurate information from a referral agency. That’s why OSRAA advocates for stronger regulation of referral agencies in Oregon. OSRAA and industry partners have teamed with state legislators sponsoring HB 2661. This bill would require certification, verification of training and background checks on all referral agents. For more information about OSRAA and HB 2661, go to www.osraa.com.
Our seniors deserve quality service and care. Families need reassurance about the choices they’re making. They need to know where to turn for help. Please consider running additional articles about senior referral agencies, OSRAA and HB 2661.
Liz Fischer, President, OSRAA