Listen to Episode 00
We kick off our inaugural podcast with Amie Clark, Co-founder of The Senior List. Amie talks about the history of the site and her motivation for starting the resource. Initially created as a senior housing resource for her local clients, The Senior List has turned into a nationwide platform for Amie and other senior care experts to share real information about the journey of mature adult life. Topics from medical alert systems, senior discounts, dating after 50, travel, Alzheimer's, health and wellness and much more are all discussed if you visit the site today.
Amie Clark is a social worker-turned-publisher, she has worked in rehab settings and spent over a decade helping older adults find senior housing when living at home was no longer an option. Amie now dedicates her time to sharing her insight and perspective helping others have fun, be safe and live out their best years of their life. Amie is the Co-founder and creator of The Senior List.com
Transcript of Episode 00 with Guest Amie Clark
Heather: I really want to start at the beginning. Let's start with how did theseniorlist.com, how did that get created? What happened? I mean, here you are, you're working actually … What were you doing? What were you doing at that time and how did it get started?
Amie: At that time, back in 2008, I had another company that helped seniors find housing in the Portland Metro area when living at home was no longer an option. We had situations where families would ask, “This facility seems great but what have other people said about it?” At the time, the only feedback I could really share with them was my own personal experiences working with other families but there was no place to send them to for them to see reviews that were written about the facilities by other family members. You can look at state data but that really didn't give people much personal information about how other people were doing at these communities.
Heather: Was it like a Yelp for senior living?
Amie: At the time, there was not anything like that. It was a light bulb moment. I decided I could create a website and I could ask my other clients and my colleagues' other clients to write reviews about their experiences with these senior housing communities. It's started out as just a very small, local, community online directory, essentially, of senior housing communities within the Portland area. Not long after that, we had feedback that, “You know, it would be great if this covered all of Oregon.” Then not long after that, it was like, “Well, why don't you do this for the whole US?”
Amie: It turned into a nationwide directory of senior housing communities and encouraged people to write reviews and feedback about those communities.
Heather: Is that still around today? Was that the original Senior List or has that been taken down? What happened to that?
Amie: Shortly after that, other sites came on to the scene. Angie's List is the best example I can use. Angie's List existed as a great resource for people to find a handyman and painters and contractors for their homes and they also started doing senior housing reviews. Then a couple of other websites that are still around today, which are great sites. Caring[dot]com, Gilbert Guide, actually those two companies merged, A Place for Mom etc… All those companies all started also encouraging reviews and because those were much bigger websites, we had a hard time keeping up with the amount of data that we needed to be importing into the site.
What you see today has completely changed from what existed back when we started. The senior housing directory is no longer a component of our site. Although, we rate the best senior housing communities in major markets around the US. That component does still exist on the site.
Heather: Let's talk about what theseniorlist.com is now today. What is it now?
Amie: Now, The Senior List rates and reviews products, we write about the latest senior care trends. We're looking at incorporating a lot of new categories into what we cover. Medical alert systems has really been our focus over the last couple of years and really delving into that market and breaking down that best of the best because there's a lot of medical alert systems out there and some of them are amazing and some of them, not so much. We still continue to focus on medical alert systems and making sure people are aware of the ins and outs of that industry and not getting themselves locked into long contracts and make sure they have great pricing and all of that good stuff.
Now, we're also starting to work on other categories, building out a little bit about travel and leisure and senior health, senior dating are some of the exciting things we're working on.
Heather: Yeah. You know, it's interesting the word, “senior”, right? I want to see you dive into that. I just think right now, about AARP, I think it's when you're 55, you technically can get a AARP card. I just find that … I think that's crazy. Just this week alone, I was at a spin class and my spin instructor, who kicked my booty, was 60. She was kicking it and she was 60 and killing everybody in the class and she's 60 or 61. I don't consider her a senior. Do you find that's kind of an odd word and finally redefining that in the culture?
Amie: For sure. I think seniors and boomers are redefining that word as we speak. There are plenty of people, who technically fall within the age range that most people would think of as a “senior”, 70s, 80s. They don't think of themselves as seniors. I don't know that there's necessarily a mainstream word that has come along to replace the word “senior”. But senior is definitely not a word that most people identify with.
Amie: What we are trying to help with on the site is helping people through those years. No matter where they're at on the journey. Whether they're a caregiver or they're a family member, they're a 90 year-old who's caring a for a spouse, wherever someone is along that journey of caring for a senior, a loved one and older adults in their life, there's something on our website the will apply to them.
Heather: That's such a huge market right now for the caregivers.
Amie: Sure, yeah.
Heather: Women and men are in their 40s, taking care of their parents. I think that's a big, huge market right now that need all the help they can get because most of them are dealing with two, what I call two different generations. They're dealing with the kids, their kids and then they're dealing with their parents. They're like, “Oh my gosh. How do I keep up with the latest and greatest and the best tools, resources and things that they want or need.”
Heather: But I think it's fun though what you're creating is you're also creating more of a fun atmosphere. You're talking about travel. You're talking about love and getting back in love again and dating again. I think that's a really great space. Where do you see that heading for 2018 and beyond?
Amie: I do see us as being an all encompassing site that people can come to our website, whether they are dealing with their own parents, they're getting back into the dating scene at 50 years old and they're looking to restart their life and they're looking to travel, they're looking to start planning for their, really start planning for their future financially. And also for people who are … I think of my own grandmother, she is 89 years old and she still uses a computer. She's on social media and she just wants to have some fun at this point in her life. Her tunnel is a little bit smaller but she's still interested in being involved in a community. She's still interested in learning new things.
Amie: For people to be able to come to our site and see a little bit of everything that may or may not apply to them, no matter what stage they're at in this process, that's where I see us being.
Heather: You talked earlier about community and that's a really important piece as people get … As we all age, we really crave a community around us. What are some things that The Senior List is doing up and coming the future about community?
Amie: Yeah, so actually right now, we have a very robust Facebook group called All About Senior Discounts. That's a great example of community that's been created within the site. People who are interested in senior discounts are on this Facebook page. They're talking about senior discounts in their own local markets. They're talking about how to save on insurance. They're talking about, “My McDonald's down the street gave me a senior discount on coffee.” There's lots of interaction and lots of chatter happening on that particular community group within Facebook.
Heather: What was the name of the group again?
Amie: It's called All About Senior Discounts.
Heather: Oh, I love it.
Amie: You go into Facebook and just search for that in the search tool. It should pop right up. We'll also be creating similar type communities surrounding other topics like senior dating, travel and leisure, financial. Those are all in the works happening this year.
Amie: We also have a very robust group of people that comment on our site. Most of the things that we publish allow for comments and people frequently leave comments. They share their stories. They share their frustrations, whether that's about a specific company or a specific topic. There's a lot happening for people that come to our site, not just reading what we have to say. There's a lot of other interaction. We also have forums on the website, where people can ask and answer questions.
Amie: There's a lot of different ways that people can communicate within our community for The Senior List.
Heather: It's interesting, I think that as we get older and there's the global economy and people are traveling and they're doing things and they're out and about, it's … Facebook is that place where we can create that community that you guys are doing and say, “Hey, what's going on in your world? What's happening in your world? Here's some things are happening with my world and sharing that experience.” I think that's definitely new for … I just think that's new for that generation. I think it's really awesome. I love what you're doing.
Heather: Let's talk about the vision. Let's look at five years down the road, Ms. Clark. Where do you see theseniorlist.com heading?
Amie: I see us looking a lot like another large senior focused website that's out there that really is serving people's needs, that's allowing people to have a fun life, that's allowing people easy access to the tools and the resources that they need, that really we can become the go to website for people to say, “Hey, I know that I'm interested in this. I want to travel to this area and I know The Senior List has either been there or they've covered it or I want to know about the latest discounts there in my local area and I know that they're working on that. So I'm going to go there and check that out.”
Heather: That's awesome. We're talking right now on The Senior List podcast. Why did you create The Senior List podcast and who should be listening?
Amie: We created the podcast because I had some amazing advice from you.
Amie: It's not something we had done before. I think that we are able to reach a whole new audience with our podcast. Podcasts are huge and people listen to them and it's another way of delivering information for us.
Amie: I'm excited about some of the fantastic guests that we're going to have on the podcast. There's some really exciting things in the works. That some really fun people are going to be showcased on the podcast.
Heather: We have a huge lineup for this year.
Heather: And some great experts that just really want to give to, what I call, the mature adult community. We have one coming up on sex and well-being and relationships and just all kinds of fun things. It's definitely going to be a great show and podcast to listen to upcoming for 2018. Share with your loved ones, share with the caregivers. It's really for the community at large and anyone that's serving, what I call, the mature adult community at any level. If you're interested and actually if you know someone that would love to be on the podcast, please reach out to theseniorlist.com. Go to the contact area and we would love to be open to interviewing them if you think it's a good fit.
Heather: I love that. Well, I love your vision that you're creating and you say in five years … I guess, did you really have this kind of vision for this when you first got started in 2008?
Amie: No, I did not. The website has grown. I cannot take credit for this saying but somebody said, “This was your side-gig that's now turned into your full-time thing.” We took it from just this little idea that was meant to serve a very small group of people and it's now grown into this platform and we get to serve, I get to serve. That's the social worker in me. I get to serve a whole bunch of people, many, many, many more people that I could ever have touched in my lifetime one-on-one and I get to use this website as my platform to share the information that I have gleaned, working with seniors throughout my career and sharing all the other experts. I certainly don't know everything but being able to bring other people to our platform and share their knowledge, it's been an amazing journey with the site.
Heather: That's awesome. Well, congratulations on that.
Amie: Thank you.
Heather: You dreamed really big. You started small but you dreamed big and it's becoming bigger and bigger. It's because of the community. They want it. They want the information because they want to have amazing lives. They want to have fun. They want to be restorative. They want to, I call, age well. They want to have fun and loving life in what I call, the mature adult space. I think it's when we're at that age, we actually get to realize what we really want. And you help to make sure they're getting the best products, resources, tools and discounts that they deserve.
Amie: Absolutely. The one thing though, it's not all roses. I recognize that as well. We have made it sound like this is all happy, good stuff and it's not always all happy, good stuff. We want to make sure that we acknowledge that there are plenty of things on the site that we talk about and discuss and write about, that are not so fun and not so happy.
Amie: There really is a little bit of something for everybody.
Heather: That's the caregiver in you. That's the social worker in you.
Amie: Absolutely, yeah.
Heather: I love that part because it really is heart-centered. You're truly a “heartpreneur” in this and you really, you're serving a greater good community because there's a lot of people like myself that I had to go through that with my Mom and figure out where is the best place to place her in. How do I know that they're safe? There's just so many things to think through when you're the adult taking care of your parent. I think you're creating a safe space for people to come and share those concerns and challenges but also getting answers.
Heather: Love that. All right, everyone, well, go check out Theseniorlist.com… Please subscribe to hear on iTunes or Google Play, wherever you're listening to us, The Senior List podcast. Then make sure you go to the Facebook page. Which one is the name of the community again?
Amie: The Senior Discounts page is called All About Senior Discounts but we also have a Facebook page just called The Senior List on Facebook. You could also sign up for our newsletters. We have some great content in our newsletters. We don't overwhelm you. It's always good stuff. So, sign up for newsletters also.
Heather: Theseniorlist.com, go check that out. Especially the community groups on Facebook. Again, this is Heather Havenwood, your host and you're listening to The Senior List podcast. Talk soon.