What is a companion?One of the biggest related factors that contribute to poor health and wellbeing is isolation. In fact as far back as 2013 the NHS were aware that social isolation is associated with a higher risk of death. How so? A body of research suggests this is due to the emotional effects of isolation – in other words feeling lonely and being isolated is bad for our health. However, this is complex, it is too simplistic to just say social isolation causes early death. Other factors to consider are socio economic status, demographics, geography and initial health status. Taking all these into account, however, it is evident there is still a significant link between social isolation and risk of death. All this research has driven efforts to reduce loneliness and has shown reducing isolation and loneliness has a significantly positive effect on wellbeing and health. The causes of loneliness are not just about social isolation, not just physical or lack of companionship, it includes the feelings of loss associated with lack of useful role in society. Having friends is a critical factor in warding off loneliness and isolation, meeting with friends, having social interaction. For older people losing your friends and family, as you get older often forces you into isolation. For couples who lose a partner, is not just about the lose of a sole mate, but the lose of a motivator, companion, cook, rock, but to be without the person who knows you best. So what is a companion? For Just Company a companion is a friend, someone who is equal. Our companions have life experiences, someone who understands, has compassion, empathy and consideration. Our companions are often older, have older children, who have had professional lives and are now looking to give something back. Our companions join Just Company because they know, they understand and completely recognise older people are not just people who need care. Older people are still who they were when younger, they are parents, professionals, travellers, creative and social beings. Our companions understand how getting older is a part of life, a life that can still be very fulfilling, rewarding and fun. Our companions do not see older people as a homogenous group who are a burden on social welfare and health allocation. Having a friend, a reliable, trustworthy friend, a person who is dependable, a friend who does not patronise is a Just Company Companion. Our companions visit regularly, they take people out, indulge them and inspire. They build strong, respectful and lasting relationships. Our companions are flexible, from going shopping to special visits out. One of our clients wrote to us to say that their mother, who has a Just Company companion, says it is the best thing in her life at the moment.