Age UK and John Lewis raise awareness of elderly solitude at Christmas » Charity Digital News

Age UK and John Lewis raise awareness of elderly solitude at Christmas

The John Lewis Christmas advert is now something of an institution and Age UK is using its vast reach to spread the message about isolated elderly people over the festive period.

The retailers annual advert launched this morning (Friday) on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube with the hashtag #OnTheMoon, before its television debut during Channel 4’s Goggle Box this evening.  This is the first time the retailer has launched a teaser campaign on social media for its big Christmas campaign.


Maximum visibility

With the retailer spending around £6m on television advertising in the run up to Christmas, it’s hoped that the exposure can do great things for Age UK’s cause.

In addition, John Lewis will encourage customers and staff to join their local branch of the charity and connect with lonely elderly people over the Christmas period.


The advert features an old man living on the moon in solitude who is spotted by a young girl on earth looking through her telescope.

Touched by the man’s plight, she tries in vain to communicate with him, finally achieving success by sending him a telescope as a Christmas present.

The advert reaches its emotional denouement when he looks through his new telescope to see the little girl waving back at him, accompanied by the strapline: “Show someone they’re loved this Christmas.”


Perfect partners

The advert complements Age UK’s ‘No one should have no one’ campaign, which carried out a study to highlight the plight of isolated elderly people at Christmas and implores people to sign a petition calling on the government to recognise loneliness as a serious health problem and commit to action to help tackle it.

The charity’s study found that three fifths (60%)of people aged over 65 aren’t expecting festive happiness to be part of their Christmas this year, while 61% of the same age group said that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without spending time with their children or grandchildren.

However, just 23% of those polled aged 18-34 say they plan to spend Christmas with their grandparents and only just under half (48%) of those aged 25-54 say they plan to spend it with their parents.

As the festive season builds, topping the list of worries for older people is missing loved ones who have passed away (42%), followed by the fear of not being able to see everyone they want to over Christmas (29%). Just 14% of people aged 65 and over said that they expected Christmas parties to be part of their festive celebrations, with only a third anticipating festive drinks with friends or neighbours.


‘Loneliness not a normal part of ageing’

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “The festive season is usually a time for celebration with those you love, but for too many older people it can reinforce feelings of loss, loneliness and of life passing them by.

“Contrary to what many people think, loneliness is not a normal part of ageing, and it not only makes life miserable, it can have a serious impact on physical and mental health too.

“We all have a role to play as individuals, families and communities in ensuring older people feel valued and included and that’s why we’re asking everyone to join us in taking action. By donating and signing our petition you can help older people to enjoy the festive season and the year to come; everyone should have someone at Christmas”



Related reading

  • Age UK should have been given a mention in the credits of this campaign. Without that, the ad is emotionally sequestrating a good cause for its own end benefits. Without acknowledging Aged UK and the cause, this ad is burnishing up a halo effect for profit, and using loneliness amongst the aged to do it. It is actually rather sickening.