At Regis, companion rooms offer residents the ability to have a friend close by while retaining their personal space. For Regis Port Stephens residents Eileen Bywater, 84, and Betty Newman, 91, their connection was instant, and the benefits to each other’s wellbeing were immediate.

The pair arrived at Regis within a few months of each other. Both were initially quiet, reserved and apprehensive, worried that they would feel isolated and uneasy in their new surroundings. Their worries quickly dissipated after meeting and finding similar interests and natural kinship.

Both residents saw a change in demeanour after being paired together, with Eileen now a keen conversationalist who adores lifestyle activities, while Betty says she is “everything but isolated.” Eileen says, “Betty is great to talk to, and she is a really good listener”, while Betty says, “Eileen is a good companion. I like that we can sit and talk for hours.”

The connection between Eileen and Betty became apparent to the Regis team instantaneously, who says, “From the first time they were introduced, we knew there was potential for a special bond between the two ladies. They both like company and have a strong commitment to family. They enjoy the same TV shows, movies, novels, and magazines. They each have a wicked sense of humour and enjoy a good laugh. It is fair to say that they are now friends for life.”

Speaking of their newfound friendship, Eileen says, “Betty is kind, gentle, and a great help to me. Because I cannot mobilise on my own, she is always there if I need her.” Betty echoes Eileen’s sentiments and says, “I feel like I have known Eileen all my life.”

Eileen chose Regis as her preferred respite destination due to its clean and safe nature and proximity to her son. Similarly, Betty also came to Regis on respite after having previously spent time at the Home and enjoying her experience. She is now looking to move to permanent residency.

When asked how their companion has improved their enjoyment and adjustment into aged care, Eileen says, “Betty makes me laugh, and I enjoy her company. I don’t miss my home as much anymore.” Betty agrees and says, “I am lonely at home, but being here with Eileen and the employees makes me happy.”

Proving that the world really is a small place, the pair also discovered that Eileen’s granddaughter is a neighbour to Betty’s niece. Betty has, in turn, become friendly with Eileen’s family, who visit the Home regularly and adore seeing their loved one develop such a special friendship.

To the pair, friendship means “always being there for each other. Companionship, having a laugh and a cry together. We will always be friends now and are so glad to have met each other.” At Regis, companion rooms help residents feel safe, secure and create lifelong bonds.