What exactly is a companion room? And more importantly, why does it matter?
First things first: The companion room model builds on the idea that humans are relational beings who thrive in community together. The program carefully matches residents as roommates to foster connections, alleviate feelings of loneliness, and improve overall mental health.
Now, here are a few reasons why you should consider companion room for your loved one:
The social experience: It can be easy for seniors in assisted living or memory care to retreat or feel isolated. Often, many of the people they know and love have passed away or live elsewhere. Companion rooms create a unique opportunity to develop new friendships and “do life” with someone else. This can help to prevent the onset of depression and other mental health issues linked to feelings of loneliness.
Companion rooms and friendships can have a ripple effect. As residents grow to enjoy time with their roommate, they may be encouraged to seek out other social opportunities and join in group events or outings. On the flip side, for those who are overwhelmed by larger group gatherings, companion rooms provide the opportunity for relational experience on a smaller scale.
The conversation stimulant: Consistent companionship facilitates consistent conversation opportunities. Everyone jokes about seniors doing crossword puzzles, but mental exercises can help stimulate brain activity and boost capacity! Conversations with others can serve as another form of mental exercise, helping seniors to stay aware and engaged with their surroundings.
The opportunity to share old memories: For those in memory care, sometimes the most comfortable place to be is the past. Recalling and reliving fond memories can help to curb anxieties and transport the individual back to a time when he or she felt purpose and dignity. The companion room model gives residents another outlet to share their stories. Staff members and family members can be good listeners, but to have someone else who is in a similar stage of life to reminisce and share with can be a great gift.
Capabilities that complement one another: As seniors with dementia progress, they will encounter different physical limitations. One patient might have greater difficulty talking or hearing, while another patient may have a tougher time standing up or opening the window shade. Two people = two sets of strengths!
To learn more about the companion room model and whether it could be a good fit for your loved one, contact a personalized healthcare consultant from Iris Memory Care today.