Julie Hamilton turned her 25 years of web development experience toward a new project—creating a comprehensive online guide of senior communities in Minnesota. The goal was to create a transparent and safe website for seniors and their families to easily find housing and care.
“The whole purpose behind [the Senior Communities Guide] is helping seniors and helping families get the seniors in the right spot the first time,” says Hamilton of Maple Grove.
Although she hasn’t had to find a senior community for her own loved ones quite yet, Hamilton says she’s familiar with the difficulties of the placement process through friends’ experiences. “There are things that you can do but nothing online,” she says. “And there was nothing to search by location, budget, by the care you want and the amenities.”
There are other directory sites, but, oftentimes, users have to create an account, leveraging their email and personal data, before gaining access to the desired information. “Websites that are taking your name and selling it are making a huge amount of money,” Hamilton says. “That’s why they don’t give you the direct number; they want to have you under their wing and hand-deliver you to the senior community to get their pay.”
But now senior communities and care facilities have another option rather than paying placement fees to such sites. According to Hamilton, the monthly payment to the Senior Communities Guide is a fraction of the cost and directly connects clients with care facilities, keeping the site easy and free to use for the user.
“We wanted something that was free and accessible, where they can get pricing because that’s the other thing … you have to make a lot of phone calls to find out pricing,” Hamilton says. “That’s why we did it, because it doesn’t exist anywhere, and we wanted to be the first.”
Hamilton turned to her team at Avallo, a creative web development company in Maple Grove, where she is the owner and account manager. She charged the group with getting the idea for the directory off the ground. “It was awesome because we entered into some mobile technology that we hadn’t really done a lot with, so my whole team learned a ton working on it,” she says.
After a year in development, the guide went live in 2019 and started amassing a positive reception from users and senior living communities.
Avallo has helped other companies market their products and services. The Senior Communities Guide is an opportunity for Avallo to develop and market its own product.
To check out the guide, visit seniorcommunities.guide, or call 763.204.8118 for additional information.