When transitioning a loved one into memory care, many families will select a shared suite arrangement. Often the main driver of the decision is to save money. And clearly there is a financial benefit. However, what many families may not realize is that there can be additional benefits to sharing a living space with a fellow resident.
Dementia expert and founder of MemoryCareSupport.com, Anne Ellett has found, through years of working with dementia residents, that sharing a common space on a day-to-day basis can foster companionship which, in turn, promotes emotional health.
Members of our own Anthem Memory Care community team have observed these benefits firsthand. Jodi Cornman, senior community relations director for Highline Place Memory Care, and Chasity Robinson Mwangi, community relations director for Morningside Place Memory Care, are both veterans in memory care, each with years of experience in all areas of daily care. That includes rooming arrangements.
Both have noted benefits to residents who share a suite. Of course, they stress the importance of considering the temperament of the residents, their ability to participate, and the level of care needed before pairing them with a roommate. And occasionally a change is needed to secure a better match for the resident. However, the benefits in most cases outweigh the issues.
Based on their experiences, as well as information they have gathered over the years, here are three key potential benefits of a shared suite arrangement:
- More flexible and accepting of changes. Having a roommate can help foster greater acceptance of the presence of others around them. That makes it easier for them to adapt to other changes within their environment.
- Greater companionship. Roommates tend to be more likely to look out for each other and be supportive of one another. Close friendships can develop between roommates, which can bring strong emotional benefits.
- Reduced isolation. Individuals living alone in their suites can gradually become more comfortable being away from others. This can present problems, especially for an individual with dementia, in that it isolates them from others. Having a roommate requires a certain level of interaction and communication. This is healthy and keeps them connected.
We invite you to reach out to us with questions about your loved one’s needs and preferences. We will be happy to share our own experiences and resources and will do our utmost to help you and your loved one make the best decision.