So the countdown has begun, Christmas parties are taking place, children are excitedly counting down (only 14 sleeps to go) and those of us who have ‘left it a bit late’ are frantically trying to push our way through the crowds during lunch breaks to buy those last minute presents. Throw in some mulled wine, mince pies and carol services and Christmas is most definitely upon us. Since November, television adverts have been presenting us with the ‘perfect’ Christmas scene; surrounded by family in festive jumpers and eating the finest profiteroles that a supermarket has to offer. Well, all apart from one that is. This year, John Lewis took the opportunity to highlight what Christmas looks like for many older people who are isolated at Christmas. The now famous ‘Man on the Moon’ advert (in partnership with Age UK) shows how isolated older people can be, especially at Christmas time and has been thought provoking for many.
For many older people this year this, sadly, will be their experience of Christmas. But I think that it’s important to remember that loneliness is possible even when you’re surrounded by friends and family. Dual sensory loss can lead to difficulties with communication, access to information and mobility and in turn make family gatherings challenging and even isolating. (For more information on how you could make your Christmas plans more inclusive and accessible for your older relatives why not read our Enjoy Life materials for some tips and advice).
In amongst all of the talk of loneliness at Christmas, I’ve been thinking about what we can practically do to change things and what Christmas in the future might look like. This year we have been asking deafblind people to look ahead 60 years and create their 60:60 visions for what life might be like in 60 years’ time. We’ve had some fantastic ideas about how life might be different in terms of attitudes, policy and some very creative technological advances. How could some of these inventions and ideas change life for The Man on the Moon?
I can just see him now, on Christmas morning putting on his electrolyte snoozicone slippers before leaving the house in his Climatico and going to spend the day with his family, finding his way with his Automover. (Wondering what I’m on about? You might want to look here and here to read the collaborative stories compiled as part of the 60:60 Vision campaign).
So, what is it that I want for Christmas? Simple – I want to see a happy ending for The Man on the Moon and to see some of our 60:60 visions becoming reality. I wonder what the John Lewis advert will be like in 2075, one of our Activists is looking for people to join her on a Mission to Mars so maybe it’ll be about that and how she brought the Man on the Moon home to earth…