An investigative report by Michael Berens of the Seattle Times brings to light the hidden underground of placement agencies helping older adults locate retirement communities. Many tout their services as FREE while they accept thousands of dollars from retirement communities for “selling” the senior on the particular community. It’s a well known and accepted practice within the industry, however the seniors are unaware that they may be recommended only to those paying the FREE services and that they may be recommended to the highest bidder. Other issues include placing seniors without looking at long term health or financial aspects, resulting in the likelihood they will have to move again further padding the pockets of the FREE service. Be wary of anything offered as FREE, there are always hidden costs. Ask how they are paid and how much so you know if they’re representing you or the communities, services or companies who pay them.