Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Cultured Companion and why was it added to AMR Care Group's array of services?
The Cultured Companions program was created by AMR Care Group's experts in aging, designed to make the arts accessible to seniors and adults with disabilities. With more than 14 years serving the senior market, AMR Care Group saw a growing need among clients, including those with various levels of dementia, to have access to social, cultural and intellectual stimulation. Traditionally, caregivers are focused on physical needs, activities of daily living and supervision. While this care is crucial and addresses primary care needs, social stimulation is often limited. Cultured Companions have the intellectual prowess to motivate and inspire on a deeper level.
This unique program pairs professional actors, musicians, artists and intellectuals with clients who have an appreciation for the arts but have been hampered due to physical or cognitive impairments. Talented and compassionate companions tailor outings and experiences to fit the ability and interests of the clients they serve.
How are Cultured Companions selected?
AMR Care Group selects Cultured Companions who have achieved a high level of professional experience working in the arts and have exemplary interpersonal skills as well as empathy, patience and creativity. Companions selected for this program generally possess an undergraduate and often a post-graduate degree in the arts. A key characteristic of Cultured Companions is an interest and passion in working with seniors and the disabled. They truly want to make a difference in the lives of their cultural partners.
How does AMR Care Group pair seniors with a Cultured Companion?
Clients or a family member or representative can speak with an AMR Care expert by calling 888-732-4884 or complete a questionnaire by clicking on the link Want Culture form. Cultured Companions are then selected based on the client’s personality and cultural interests.
What types of experiences can seniors expect to have with a Cultured Companion?
Cultured Companions experiences are based on individual interests, preferences, mobility, and cognitive ability.
For clients with limited mobility or those who are homebound, a Cultured Companion visits the client in their own environment. S/he may recite poetry, discuss art, give a musical performance or watch a movie which can be shared through casual, thoughtful conversation.
Since all Cultured Companions are working artists, they might give mini live performances and engage clients through song and or discussion which leads to a meaningful rapport.
For those who are physically able to take full advantage of all that New York City has to offer the cultural experience may include attending a concert, theatrical performance, going to a museum or gallery, an excursion to a local park, or other creative and intellectually stimulating encounters. Cultured Companions will help with choosing events, scheduling, purchasing tickets and transportation. Clients can simply enjoy the activity.
How are Cultured Companions trained to work with seniors?
Each Cultured Companion completes an extensive orientation process prior to working with clients.
Based on the Companions’ prior experience, training is customized and conducted by AMR Care Group’s Certified Dementia/Alzheimer’s trainer. Training topics may include: socialization techniques, managing expectations, learning to meet the client where they are emotionally, Dementia and Alzheimer’s behaviors as well the importance of respect. The primary goal is meaningful engagement and activity to improve mental health and well being and avoid isolation. Cultured Companions learn how to cultivate the experience to make the most of their time with a client.
How does Cultured Companions help seniors with dementia?
The Cultured Companions program can have a very positive effect for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Seniors’ with cognitive impairment and memory issues are given the opportunity to partake in activities which may trigger positive memories and create mood boosting results. Studies have shown that even if short term memory loss prohibits a client from remembering details of a visit or outing, taking part in meaningful activities can have a powerful and positive impact, even if they don’t remember the event itself. Emotional memory is often retained despite the disease or impairment. Joyful moments can stimulate feelings of familiarity, happiness, comfort and security.
Cultured Companions are trained in communication techniques by a certified Dementia/Alzheimer's Specialist. They learn how to validate and redirect and tools to avoid triggers which may cause anxiety or agitation. They also learn the importance of body language and approach. These teachings help to foster successful interactions.