Companionship can be whatever you want it to be

By Nina Steele 

National Dog Mom’s DayYears ago, in my work with the elderly, I had the opportunity to meet a lady in her 80s. She lived with her sister and had done so most of her adult life. Neither of them had ever married and they had no children either. It was just the two of them. They both had enough means to live separately, but chose to live together instead. The lady in her 80s was the younger of the two. Her elder sister was then in her 90s. I remember thinking what a great idea. Of course for this to work, you have to get along, and luckily, they did.

Of course, not everyone can be so lucky. Family can be an absolute nightmare. I have lived long enough to know stories of people whose lives have been made a complete misery because of family members. So yes, living with a sibling for the rest of one’s life may not be for everyone.

As the title states, companionship can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t always have to be with a human being. Many people have their pets as their life companions. There have been a few stories on this website of people having their dogs as their main companions. It is really whatever works for you.

I read a few articles recently of friends trying to combat loneliness by choosing to live together. And to my surprise, the people at the centre of these articles were young. Admittedly, it wasn’t just about combating loneliness. Just like the idea of communal living, they were choosing to live together because it was the only way a lot of them could afford decent and cheap accommodation. The high cost of living is forcing many people, both young and old to consider arrangements they may not have necessarily considered in times gone by.

Over a year ago, I wrote about the rise of the ‘homeshare scheme’, whereby, an old person agrees to rent a spare room in their house to a younger person at a vastly reduced cost. By doing so, the old person gets to have someone around as a companion, while the benefit to the younger person is of course cheap housing.

Of course there are many people out there who thrive on their own. They like nothing better than to be by themselves, doing their own things. The very idea of living with anybody else is anathema to them, and I totally understand where they are coming from. We are all very different. There is never a one size fits all when it comes to how to live our lives.

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