Companionship is important at all stages of life, but it becomes increasingly significant as we get older. Older people often suffer from loneliness for a variety of reasons – they may have lost their life partner, they could live alone, their family may be far away or they might have mobility issues, stopping them from getting out and about.
Loneliness in old age is a huge problem, and a recent poll revealed that almost three quarters of older people in the UK feel lonely. Retirement, bereavement and feelings of social exclusion can all be risk factors of loneliness. Sometimes disability or poor health can also contribute to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Companionship, offered by neighbours, friends, carers or community volunteers can really make a difference and help to combat loneliness. Having somebody to interact with is the best way to feel connected to society.
What is companionship?
The definition of companionship is the feeling of friendship or fellowship – it’s a vital connection with somebody which gives a sense of togetherness. If you have a companion, you enjoy their company and want to spend time with them. Companionship is a basic human need, and when these needs are not fulfilled it can cause emotional and physical problems.
Companionship is important for establishing a sense of belonging. Without it, people can become lonely and even depressed, which is why society needs to make more of an effort to meet the companionship needs of the elderly.
Companionship Services for the Elderly
Everybody needs someone to talk to on a daily basis, but this isn’t possible for many old people. People who live alone, have no relatives close by or those who can’t get out into the community are missing out on vital social interaction.
Many care providers like Novus Care now offer companionship as a separate service. This is because we recognise the need to give emotional support in addition to physical support. If a person already requires home care, then a carer naturally provides companionship while they carry out other tasks. If a person doesn’t necessarily need help living independently, they should still be able to apply for a carer companion.
There are many ways a carer can offer companionship, including:
- Engaging conversation and providing company
- Taking part in hobbies or activities with you
- Taking you out to meet friends or attend social events
- Assistance with day trips or visiting public places
- Looking for opportunities where you can meet new people
We understand that companionship is fundamental to overall health and wellbeing.