Over a million older people will go this month (and every month) without speaking to anyone.
Last Christmas 489,808 older people in the UK spent Christmas Day by themselves. Research reveals that the most common reason older people are set to be lonely this Christmas is due to family living far away or even in a different country. Other reasons included relationships changing with their children, not wanting to seem like a burden on their busy families and some simply have not been invited to spend Christmas with anyone. Whilst loneliness is a year-round issue affecting older people, it seems more enunciated at Christmas time – as it’s a sentimental time of year, with friends, family & good will being core to it’s celebration.
There has, however, been a direct spotlight on this pertinent issue in recent weeks, partially thanks to retail giant John Lewis & German supermarket Edeka, who have put the topic of elderly isolation at the forefront of their Christmas advertising campaigns.
John Lewis’s ad is working to raise awareness for Age UK and it is certainly doing this. There has been a huge influx of both volunteers and donations to Age UK, with money going to fund their Advice Line and Call in Time befriending service. John Lewis stores are also working directly with their local Age UK to fund Christmas social activities, and to raise money through the Community Matters scheme for a range of services such as lunch clubs, face to face befriending and social activities for older people who might otherwise be alone.
With an international stage, beautiful shots, powerful imagery and strikingly emotive content it’s hard not to feel something but more importantly can this feeling truly resonate? We need to realise that you don’t need to go to the moon to find people alone this Christmas. John Lewis’s theme is echoing the words of Age UK’s own campaign “No one should have no one at Christmas” if you know anyone, even a neighbour that you hardly see, think about asking them to have tea with you or give them a phone call. We all get caught up in the madness of present buying and giving every year, but this Christmas, the best thing you can give is free, your company!
Merry Christmas from everyone at NurseBuddy