It’s that time of year again! The festive season is fast approaching and we are all gearing up for what is set to be the busiest time of year for many of us. Evenings spent at parties, catching up with friends and a merry Christmas surrounded by family. However, this isn’t the story for everyone.
For many older people, Christmas can be a particularly lonely time.
The lonely old man on the moon…
Every year, John Lewis’ anticipated Christmas advertising campaign typically kick-starts the festive season. This year however, they’ve really struck a chord with me. As lovely as it is, it’s important not to neglect the message behind the campaign, which was created in partnership with Age UK.
Together with the charity, John Lewis created The Man On The Moon advertising campaign to help tackle the issue of loneliness amongst the elderly. It aims to remind people that no one should be alone at Christmas, encouraging us to think about and support those older people who often experience a lonely December.
For those of you who haven’t seen the John Lewis ad yet (where have you been hiding?), since it exploded onto our TV screens and Facebook newsfeeds, the advert reminds us to ‘show someone they’re loved this Christmas.’
It is the charming story of a young girl called Lily, who looks at the moon through her parents’ telescope one night to discover an old man on the moon. He is all alone. She sends him a Christmas parcel with a message and a telescope, to assure him he’s being thought of down here on earth.
#ManOnTheMoon with the slogan ‘No one should have no one at Christmas’, supports Age UK’s wonderful campaign, which has set up a special help line for the lonely elderly. Age UK’s message is to make donations and help them take a call from a lonely older person, to give them that much-needed support over the festive season.
60% of those over 60 have no festive happiness expectations
We know that those living in retirement villages are less likely to feel lonely and isolated. In fact our August blog was all about this, when our Castle Village starred in Channel 4’s Dispatches programme, as a solution to loneliness in later years. However, it’s important to remember that not everyone is fortunate enough to be living in a retirement community with like minded people enjoying a range of social events throughout the holiday season, as the figures show.
According to Age UK, 60% of people over the age of 60 do not expect to experience any festive happiness over Christmas.
Similarly, the stats showed that when asked what they wouldn’t be without this festive season, 61% of the same age group said that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without spending time with their family and loved ones.
I’d imagine the challenge of loneliness at Christmas is a combination of the ageing population and the fact families often live in different parts of the country – and even in different continents – so it’s not always easy to get together.
Loneliness isn’t just at Christmas
But, sadly, the problem is not just confined to Christmas.
Age UK also revealed the nation’s concerns about loneliness. Nearly half of UK adults (41%) admitted to being worried about being alone in later life. On top of that, research for the Campaign to End Loneliness shows that more than half of over 75s now live alone with many saying that television is their main source of company.
It’s heart breaking to think of those who will have no one with which to share these special occasions.
If you want to help Age UK support lonely older people by donating or volunteering go to: www.ageuk.org.uk/christmas.
I hope you are looking forward to a family filled Christmas, whatever your age.
Sales and Marketing Director, Retirement Villages Group