When it comes to maintaining emotional well-being, quality of life, and overall health for older adults, experts say ensuring authentic companionship and guarding against loneliness and feelings of isolation are crucial. 

Elder Loneliness and Social Isolation

Loneliness and social disconnect have always been concerns and factors impacting senior health. In today’s fast-paced society, which has been affected by the lingering effects of the pandemic in terms of social gatherings and interactions, the challenges of senior isolation and ensuring healthy and safe social and emotional engagement have never been more vivid. 

According to a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), more than one-third of adults aged 45 and above experience loneliness. Furthermore, the report indicates that nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and above are considered to be socially isolated. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says these challenges are serious health concerns for the rapidly growing older adult population in the United States. The CDC states that loneliness and social isolation put older adults at greater risk for dementia and other medical conditions and that people with stronger social bonds have 50 percent higher survival rates than those who have fewer social connections. 

Meaningful Social Engagement Matters 

When authentic companionship and genuine relationships is lacking, individuals can experience loneliness even when they have social contact. Meaningful relationships, social interactions, and bonds that enhance the quality of life, enjoyment, and overall well-being are developed when people share common interests, likes and preferences, and trust. These factors form the basis of authenticity and companionship that positively impact people of all ages, particularly older adults and seniors, who may be more prone to experiencing loneliness, lack of engagement, and social isolation due to a range of circumstances or health-related challenges. 

Social isolation, which results from a lack of connectivity and engagement with other individuals or groups, is a common factor affecting many older adults and seniors that can lead to, in some cases, severe cases of loneliness and depression. Because older adults are more likely to face circumstances such as living alone, the loss of family or friends, chronic illness, and hearing loss, they are at greater risk of loneliness and social isolation than other age groups. People who find themselves unexpectedly alone due to the death of a spouse or partner, separation from friends or family, retirement, loss of mobility, and lack of transportation are at particular risk. 

Improving Overall Well-Being and Health Outcomes for Seniors

Beyond its physical benefits, authentic companionship provides emotional support and understanding for seniors. It fosters a sense of connection crucial to their health and well-being. For instance, research demonstrates that incorporating meaningful interactions, relationships, and authentic companionship into care plans for older adult patients is not just beneficial but essential to their overall well-being and health outcomes.[1]

For some individuals, loneliness can be a form of stress, which is linked to increased risk factors for heart disease and many other chronic conditions, as well as weakening of the immune system. Socialization has been shown to reduce stress and strengthen heart health by lowering blood pressure and inflammation and boosting the immune system, which helps prevent illness and help people recover faster [2]. The impacts of loneliness can be even more severe. Data indicates that people who are lonely or socially isolated experience poorer health overall and are at an increased risk for premature death.

Sense of Purpose and Belonging 

Having someone to engage with personally can help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Regular and authentic social interaction can boost mood, reduce stress, and improve mental health, greatly enhancing overall well-being. Meaningful interactions and engagement can also foster and preserve a sense of purpose and belonging, enhancing self-esteem, confidence, and overall outlook. 

Additionally, authentic companionship can lead to increased physical activity and cognitive stimulation, as social engagement often involves conversations, activities, and outings. This can help maintain cognitive function, improve memory, and prevent cognitive decline.

A Holistic Approach to Authentic Companionship

Creating an environment of authentic companionship and meaningful engagement for older adult patients is a significant aspect of personalized and comprehensive care planning. The role of caregivers in this process is not just important but pivotal. Equipping them with a holistic and person-centered approach to care and ensuring they are well-matched in personality types with patients are essential first steps and significantly contribute to establishing authentic companionship. 

Understanding and valuing the whole person and incorporating their experiences, background, interests, and hobbies is vital to authentic companionship. Facilitating and supporting activities that promote a sense of purpose in seniors’ lives is also crucial. These aspects combined play a significant role in combating loneliness, enhancing quality of life, and improving health outcomes for seniors overall. A sense of purpose not only helps to alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness but also promotes mental well-being, improved quality of life, and overall health, offering a hopeful perspective on seniors’ lives.

Studies show that individuals who actively engage in meaningful, productive activities and relationships with others tend to live longer, boost their mood, and experience an enhanced sense of purpose and improved cognitive function. We are committed to promoting every aspect of health and well-being. Our holistic approach to developing comprehensive care plans incorporates activities that are personally meaningful and enjoyed by individual clients, such as arts and crafts, gardening, music, authentic companionship, and purposeful engagement. Our dedicated care staff takes time to learn about our client’s personal and professional backgrounds, interests, hobbies and desires to identify and develop activities that will provide true value, enjoyment, stimulation, and meaningfulness. 

Our Home Care Agency Mission

As part of our mission to provide the best care to seniors through a holistic approach, the PCMatch home care agency prioritizes providing genuine emotional support, meaningful interaction, and companionship for our clients. To ensure the ideal matching of caregivers with clients, our unique Matching Program utilizes the renowned Caliper Personality testing and assessment process to create detailed profiles for our care staff. We collaborate closely with families to establish a thorough patient profile with our care plan assessment process to facilitate the optimal pairing of caregivers and clients.

We also regularly review and reassess care plans to ensure client satisfaction because we understand that personal circumstances and preferences may change over time. This approach guarantees the best match-up of care staff with clients while allowing the introduction of new activities and experiences for our clients to enjoy. This enhances physical, mental, and emotional health while contributing to a higher quality of life and overall happiness. Studies suggest that having trusted and authentic companionship can also help to improve healthcare for older adults. For example, having the presence of a companion at a healthcare visit has the potential to assist in facilitating efficiency and aid in achieving patient-centered care for older adults.” (3) 

Authentic Companionship as Part of the Care Plan

PCMatch ensures authentic companionship as part of our personalized holistic care plans. Our care staff is specially-trained to foster meaningful client relationships and a lifestyle that includes enjoyable, socially, and emotionally engaged activities and values. We take a personalized and holistic approach to developing client care plans, facilitating optimal physical health while considering the patient’s unique background, familiar and enjoyable activities, hobbies, and personal interests.

We focus on mind, body, and spirit, incorporating interests, hobbies, and preferences specific to each individual. This includes redirecting activities to help manage and reduce stress and anxiety while providing avenues for enjoyment and life-enhancing activities for our clients. This comprehensive approach promotes physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being by addressing the entire individual. Ensuring authentic companionship in our holistic care plans improves quality of life, clients’ sense of purpose and independence, and cognitive function.

At PCMatch, our goal is to provide the best, holistic care to enable seniors to live their healthiest and best lives safely and affordably in the comfort of their homes. Contact us to learn more about our person-centered, holistic care plans, which include authentic companionship for your loved one.


[1] Karacsony S, Merl H, O’Brien J, Maxwell H, Andrews S, Greenwood M, Rouhi M, McCann D, Stirling C. What are the Clinical and Social Outcomes of Integrated Care for Older People? A Qualitative Systematic Review. Int J Integr Care. 2022 Sep 7;22(3):14. doi: 10.5334/ijic.6469. PMID: 36213219; PMCID: PMC9504020.

[2] Hubbard, Dawn, MD, Five Surprising Health Benefits to Socializing with Others, 2023 Dec 4. Accessed May, 11, 2024.

[3] Sheehan, O. C., Graham-Phillips, A. L., Wilson, J. D., Crews, D. C., Holt, C. L., Gabbard, J., Smith, K. C., Wolff, J. L., & Roth, D. L. (2019). Non-spouse companions accompanying older adults to medical visits: A qualitative analysis. BMC Geriatrics19https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-019-1098-y accessed on 4/30/24

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults: Opportunities for the Health Care System. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/25663.

Loneliness and Social Isolation Linked to Serious Health Conditions (cdc.gov)

Non-spouse companions accompanying older adults to medical visits: a qualitative analysis – PMC (nih.gov)

Patients’ and Caregivers’ Attributes in a Meaningful Care Encounter: Similarities and Notable Differences – PMC (nih.gov)

Snellman, I., Gustafsson, C., & Gustafsson, K. (2012). Patients’ and Caregivers’ Attributes in a Meaningful Care Encounter: Similarities and Notable Differences. ISRN Nursing2012. https://doi.org/10.5402/2012/320145