Can My Parent Get a Private Room in Assisted Living or Memory Care?

Jun 20, 2024 | Caregivers

If you’ve been looking for a private room in assisted living for your parent, you know that it can be a frustrating task. Many communities have a long wait list for private rooms – but what if your parent needs 24/7 care now? 

You might consider skipping the wait, since companion rooms offer a range of benefits for individuals with memory care issues.

Private Rooms vs. Companion Rooms in Assisted Living

A private room in an assisted living community is a bedroom, typically with an ensuite bathroom, that is used by one resident. Some communities also offer kitchenettes, but these are typically for individuals who still have a higher level of independence. A companion room is a shared room, typically with two beds and shared by two residents.

The type of room that will be the best fit for your parent will depend on their unique situation, needs and wants. 

Private rooms:

  • Offer more privacy and greater independence, but this isn’t always the best option. For example, a private room may be a better fit for someone who needs some help with daily self-care tasks, but can, for the most part, live independently. But someone who needs more help might benefit from having someone live with them
  • Are more expensive than a companion room, so the cost may also be a factor for your family
  • Allow the individual to have their own space, decorated in the way they like, with personal touches from home, if desired

Companion rooms:

  • Give your loved one easy access to socialization, reducing loneliness.
  • Reduce the monthly cost of care
  • Help your loved one to forge new friendships, even later in life

Companion Rooms for Dementia: 5 Reasons They’re a Better Choice

If your loved one has dementia, they’ll need a certain type of assisted living called memory care. Memory care is specially designed for individuals with dementia and typically includes:

  • Specialized safety measures to protect individuals with dementia, like secured doors, video surveillance systems, 24/7 security and care, and enclosed outdoor spaces to prevent elopement.
  • Features designed to alleviate confusion and anxiety: ample lighting, wayfinding aids, regular routines, cognition-enhancing activities, etc. 

Sharing a space with a roommate has several benefits for individuals with dementia:

1. Less Fear and Anxiety

Dementia can often cause feelings of confusion, anxiety and even fear. Having someone else with them, especially at night, can help someone with dementia to feel less scared and agitated.

2. A Sense of Routine

Having a roommate with their own schedule can help someone with dementia to maintain a sense of routine. Routine can help to reduce confusion and provide a sense of purpose. 

3. Increased Socialization & Less Risk of Isolation

Even the most dedicated loners need to spend time with other people sometimes. A roommate prevents social isolation and can give your loved one the opportunity to experience companionship and to even make a friend. A roommate can also encourage further socialization. For example, seeing a roommate leave the room to socialize with others can inspire someone with dementia to do the same. 

4. Companion Rooms Are Safer for Someone With Dementia 

Jeffrey Nichols, MD, president of the New York Medical Directors Association, says that a private room “virtually guarantees” that there will be:

  • Less direct observation of the resident
  • Fewer opportunities to make nursing rounds to inquire about or observe each resident
  • No roommate to alert the staff that, for example, a nonambulatory resident is trying to climb out of bed
  • A longer distance between the nursing station and the average resident in need

Dr. Nichols says that “private spaces … might be wonderful for senior housing or assisted-living facilities, but they may be an obstruction to care processes for a high acuity patient population in need of skilled services. In a large facility with spacious private rooms, a wandering resident with Alzheimer’s disease could be lost for hours without being noticed.”

5. Companion Rooms Cost Less

With features like increased safety and security and specialized dementia training for staff, the cost of a memory care community can sometimes be a little more than you might expect. This is another reason to consider a companion room – a shared room will be less expensive. At Sundara, choosing a companion room will save you $6,000 a year.

Companion Rooms for Dementia in Round Rock: Now Available at Sundara

Loving someone with dementia isn’t always easy, especially when you need to make a tough decision like considering memory care. We know this is an emotional time for you, your loved one and the entire family. We want to make this time as easy for you as possible. If you or your loved one live in the Round Rock or Austin area, come visit us and take a tour with an owner to learn more about our community.