Every year, the John Lewis Christmas advert is one of the most highly anticipated dates on the festive calendar, but with such a grave message behind this year’s offering, John Lewis and Age UK are calling for your support on a crucial issue.
The advert marks the start of the Christmas season for many and has previously featured cuddly penguins and impatient children, but this year’s ad has taken a more serious approach, addressing the issue plaguing hundreds of thousands of older people across the country right now, loneliness.
Age UK say that around one million older people regularly go a month without speaking to anyone and according to research by Friends of the Elderly, around half a million spend Christmas Day alone. These are appalling statistics but highlighting the epidemic and encouraging people to talk about and support the issue is a step in the right direction.
Jill Redman, head of care at The Abbeyfield Kent Society commented: “Christmas is a time of joy and excitement for many, but for a great number of people, it’s a time when they find themselves very much alone.
“As a charity and housing association with over 45 years of experience, we have supported thousands of older people, many of whom have told us how isolated they were and how they dreaded Christmas before moving in to one of our homes. Whilst it is wonderful that we can provide comfort and a happy future for our own residents, it’s just a small part of what needs to be done.”
So, if the man on the moon inspired you, how can you do your bit for the older people of your community? As well as donating to Age UK, if you want to actively get involved, there’s plenty you can do.
“It’s about the Abbeyfield ethos of companionship,” says Jill, “reaching out to your older neighbours or relatives who don’t have people around them and creating friendships and bonds within the community.
“Whether you ask them in for a cup of tea, stop in the street for a chat, write an extra Christmas card, or invite them to join you for Christmas lunch, it’s easy to incorporate into your daily routine.
“Charity support is vital all year round but particularly during such a family focused season. In The Abbeyfield Kent Society’s homes, devoted volunteers are hugely valuable to our residents and staff, they provide a caring ear for residents, help staff to run activities and expect nothing in return. But despite the support some of our homes receive, a few have no volunteers at all. An hour or two a week may not seem like much to you, but it can make the world of difference to an older person who feels as though they have no-one, or a charity which is working hard to provide vulnerable older people with fulfilling and enriched lives.”