A shared, companion, or semi-private suite is an apartment that is shared by two residents. Shared or companion suites are more common in memory care or assisted living than independent living, and are often provided to offer a more affordable option.
Luxury companion suite in assisted living
The residents in companion suites are typically not related (i.e. not a couple, although siblings are not unheard of), since senior living communities often use a different pricing structure for couples.
Companion suites or semi-private apartments vary in privacy and space. The least private setup is a studio (two residents in the same room) with one bathroom. In this setup, the beds are typically placed shoulder-to-shoulder along the same wall with a tv on the other side of the room. This is a common setup in nursing homes and more affordable assisted living or memory care communities.
The most private companion suite type is a two-bedroom apartment where the residents have separate bedrooms and bathrooms, but share a common living area.
Monthly rent for companion suites is typically much more affordable, per resident, than rent for private assisted living apartments. Companion suites are often $1,000 - $2,000 per month per resident less than the same apartment rented privately. For example, a 350 sf studio in assisted living may rent for $4,500 per month if rented privately by one person. The same apartment may cost $3,300 per month per person if rented as a companion suite.
Residents in companion suites typically pay the same amount for additional charges as residents in private apartments pay. So, levels of care, medication management, and other charges are not cheaper for companion suite residents. This is because the additional costs to the community for those services are essentially the same whether a resident is in a companion or other suite.
Finding a Roommate
The senior living community is usually responsible for finding a roommate for a companion suite resident. Finding compatible roommates in senior living can be tough, so some seniors are lucky enough to have a semi-private room alone for a couple of months, but this fortunate situation does not usually last.
While some seniors appreciate the savings that companion suites in assisted living offer, others view these as a relic of an era when Medicaid-focused nursing homes were the primary senior housing option. As a result, many newer communities are eschewing shared apartments in favor of more private apartments.