Companion Suites – One Way to Reduce Memory Care Costs
We offer companion suites as an affordability solution in our Memory Care Cottage at Highgate. This is an alternative to private suites, which for many residents offers more than a way to reduce costs. You may want to consider companion suites for two important reasons.
Ease the Transition
When you bring two compatible seniors together to share an apartment, it makes transitioning into the new environment easier. This is especially true for those who are naturally introverted by nature. If your loved one isn’t the type who thrives on making new friends or being the life of the party, the move into memory care could be less traumatic if someone more outgoing by nature is paired with him or her.
The Alzheimer’s Association reports, “Research shows that people who are regularly engaged in social interaction maintain their brain vitality.” Sharing an apartment is one way to encourage social activity.
Having social connections isn’t optional. Alzheimer’s Prevention cites “a landmark UCLA study” that found “the ‘fight or flight’ response that has long been accepted as the normal reaction to stress is generally a male response. Women are more likely to ‘tend and befriend,’ and this alternative may be a contributing factor to their longer life expectancy.” It’s also a factor in slowing the progress of cognitive decline. All it takes is “10 minutes of social interaction a day to improve cognitive performance.”
A story shared in AARP’s November 21, 2008 bulletin demonstrates how beneficial social interaction can be. Stella’s husband died, and gradually this once active participant in church life stopped attending. She lost her interest in her appearance and began to forget to eat. Her daughter realized something was seriously wrong when her mother called in a panic because she thought her dead husband was in the house. He had been gone for 3 years.
Despite moving across the country into totally unfamiliar conditions, Stella was almost her old self within a month of her relocation into a senior residence near her daughter’s home. The activities provided to connect her socially and to create enjoyable exercise opportunities played a major role in her turnaround.
Expert Mari Warburton of M & M Healthcare Group, LLC suggests some dementia residents do better with a place of quiet that’s clearly their own; however, “social residents who aren’t bothered by the idea of a companion in the sleeping area” may actually find having a roommate comforting. The key is “to properly match up semi-private residents in order to make it the best arrangement for both individuals.”
Our experience shows that bringing seniors together to share an apartment results not only in cost savings, but a greater sense of security and the forming of new friendships.
Finding a Compatible Roommate
We consider compatibility factors such as similar cleanliness values, tastes in music, common beliefs and sleeping habits. We also take the unique manifestations memory issues cause into account before pairing individuals. We recognize there are times when our residents cannot adjust to the environment. When those times come, we adjust the environment to fit them.
Always, our primary concern is to create an environment that fosters the well-being of each resident. If sharing a living space isn’t a good fit, we’ll work to find an affordable, yet workable solution.
To learn more, contact the Community Relations Coordinator at your local Highgate community.