BizWorthy: An Assist Choosing Assisted Living, Regulating Influencers And Value Of College Degrees

Nov 29, 2019

Finding a good assisted-living home for a loved one can be tough work. But there’s a new tool that may make the search a bit easier. 

Tony Mecia of the Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter joins WFAE's "Morning Edition" host Lisa Worf to discuss this and other business news.

Worf: So how does this tool work?


Mecia: The federal government has a website called Nursing Home Compare that you can go on and you can look at different nursing homes. Look at their staffing. You can look at complaints, you can look at a whole bunch of different figures that can help you choose. In the last month or so, the federal government has actually put up new warning labels alongside some of these nursing homes that have a history of abuse or neglect.

Nationwide, about 5% of the nursing homes on this site now carry that warning. And that includes four nursing homes in the Charlotte area. Four out of about 42 that are marked by the government now as having recent history of abuse or neglect.

And it's kind of depressing reading through some of these. You know, it really makes you realize, you know, as much as we would like to think that our parents and grandparents are happily spending their golden years, that it can be a very challenging place, where you have people with dementia, where you have residents who are combative, that maybe don't really know what's going on. They're uncooperative. It can be very difficult. But this new warning label is meant to help people navigate their way through that, although people in the industry say it's sort of unfair to tar them with this label because some of these very difficult circumstances. 

Worf: So tell me about these four nursing homes in the Charlotte region. 

Mecia: Sure. There were four that were on the list as flagged as having a recent history of abuse or neglect. White Oak Manor in Charlotte, Old Knox Commons in Huntersville, and then a couple in Gastonia. The Ivy, which used to be known as Meadow Wood Nursing Center and Alexandria Place. Not all of them got back to me, but the ones that did, did point out that, you know, these are very isolated incidents, that they don't always agree with the findings and that they provide a very high level of care that's not always captured just by a red symbol on this website. 

Worf: In the Charlotte region, what kind of complaints have come up? 

Mecia: Well, there've been a few, you know, and when people make complaints, they are investigated. And the investigative reports are on this website. I mean, you see allegations of sexual abuse, a resident on resident sexual abuse. You see issues having to do with, you know, residents who had toileting issues that weren't addressed in a timely way. There was one where a staff member slapped a resident who had been combative. 

Worf: On to social media influencers. The Federal Trade Commission laid out new guidelines for people who take freebies from companies in exchange for a  favorable post. Are influencers actually doing this, following these guidelines? 

Mecia: Well, you know, the Federal Trade Commission regulates advertising and it exists to make sure in part that advertising is not deceptive. And so it's been really a challenge as a lot of people's lives move online and advertisers follow. How do we make sure that the information that is online that is paid for is actually disclosed? And so in the last month or so, the FTC has come out with these new guidelines for influencers that say if you receive freebies or if you get paid, you need to very clearly disclose that in your social media posts, on Instagram, on Facebook, Twitter, wherever. You can't just bury it in a bunch of hashtags. You can't just say something like #SP for sponsored. People don't understand what that means.

I think it's one of these things where there is this level of responsibility that they have and things they are supposed to do. But the enforcement on it, I mean, I think they kind of realized nobody is policing every single Instagram post. So I think a lot of them are sort of skating by and not always doing what they're supposed to be doing. 

Worf: And finally, the worth of a college degree. The U.S. Department of Education released new data on colleges that show for the first time, median starting salaries broken out by school and major. So what's the most lucrative major out there and where's it at? 

Mecia: And how do you apply and  get in? 

Worf: Exactly. 

Mecia: Yeah. Journalism isn't on this list really, Lisa. Unfortunatley for us. 

Worf: No, I did not see it. 

Mecia: As you might expect, the business and economics type majors, you know, when you look at those, tend to be the highest-earning on average. This is really something new that the federal government has done. It has a website called the College Scorecard, which gives you a whole bunch of information about these different colleges, breaks out the salaries by major and school. So you can see, well, you know, if you're going to Appalachian State, you can see, well, your computer science majors one year out, you'll have an average salary of about $59,000. But unfortunately, if you're a drama major at App, it's only about $15,000. So these can really sort of help inform, you know, it's not the be-all and end-all. You know, you don't go to college just to see how much money you can earn. But I think it can help inform some conversations.