Programs that offer the services of individuals, usually volunteers, many from the faith community, who provide friendship, informal counselling and ongoing personal support for people in difficult circumstances (e.g., having a serious illness, experiencing a disaster) with the objective of raising their morale and helping them to cope emotionally with their situation.
Programs that reach out to people who are hospitalized or in another institutional setting, are socially isolated due to disability or old age, or otherwise lack companionship with the objective of brightening their day and helping them to maintain contact with the outside world. Included may be in-person visits, telephone calls, Internet chat sessions or other forms of contact.
Programs that help people who are socially isolated due to disability or old age relieve their loneliness by providing a companion who shares the individual's home and is available on a continual basis for reading, talking, listening, writing letters and other tasks which help the individual maintain contact with the outside world.
Programs that provide companionship, guidance and/or role models for individuals who are disadvantaged because of age, income, physical or developmental disabilities or family environment.
Programs that link individuals who have a particular disability or condition or have specific types of life experiences and are interested in meeting or corresponding with others who have similar disabilities, conditions or experiences for the purpose of information sharing and support.
The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.