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September 20, 2013

Online Review Sites Can Help Inform Older Adults’ Consumer Choices

When it comes to hiring a new accountant or finding out what restaurant in town serves the best turkey sandwich, you’'ve probably relied on advice from family and friends for most of your life. You’'ve likely even returned the favor with some recommendations of your own. The truth is people love talking about their experiences – positive or negative – with businesses, products, events, and services. Now, thanks to the Internet, many, many opinions are readily available for you to check out.

There are a myriad of review sites and feedback systems that can provide you with opinions on almost anything you’d like to try. Whether you’re buying a new vacuum cleaner or are looking to book a hotel room in Las Vegas, you can easily find reviews to help guide your decision.

Here, we take a look at some review sites older adults might find helpful: 

Angie’'s List

When it comes to online reviews, one big concern is reliability. Some reviewers use forums to rant and rave instead of providing thoughtful information. You’'ll find that’s not much of a problem on Angie'’s List. Angie’'s List is a paid review site with rules against posting anonymously, so there tends to be higher quality opinions. This site is especially good for people looking for service providers, such as doctors, plumbers, or home health aides. That can be useful for older adults who are concerned about finding honest and reliable professionals when it comes to their health care or hiring people to work in their homes. Kendal at Home maintains a membership to Angie'’s List, which it uses for referral services when members need assistance finding trusted professionals for various home maintenance needs.


Yelp is a free review site that’s open to everyone. That means there are lots of reviews on local businesses, services, and even places like city parks. The large, unrestricted community also means you have to read with a critical eye for who is giving an earnest review and who is being overly rosy or negative.

Reviews on Yelp operate on a five-star scale, but many also include a description of the reviewer’s experience. Like Angie’'s List, you can use Yelp to screen for trustworthy service providers, but it'’s also a useful place to look up restaurants you might try with friends or fun activities to do with your grandchildren. Reviewers could have helpful tips on dinner specials or the best time to visit the zoo.

Search Engine Reviews

Like Yelp, search engines like Yahoo! and Google also empower people to provide reviews. These five-star ratings show up in the search results when you look for restaurants or businesses. They’re also often accompanied by written reviews you can see by clicking “more info” in the Yahoo! search results or “Google Reviews” on the Google site. Always use your judgment when considering the trustworthiness of individual review, but some may have good tips or warnings about local businesses or service providers.

Consumer Reports

You probably know Consumer Reports from the company’s long-running print publication that ranks everything from toaster ovens to automobiles. While the magazine is still in publication, you can also take advantage of Consumer Reports’ website for reliable, professional reviews of consumer goods. That’s great for older adults who can use the information to get the best product for their budget. The site is a paid service, so there is a usage fee, but the information is rigorously checked by Consumer Reports to guarantee it's trustworthiness. 

Looking for honest, reliable reviews on Kendal at Oberlin and Kendal at Home? Get testimonials straight from our residents and members! Click here to download Kendal at Oberlin and here for Kendal at Home

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