Sunday, 24 December 2017

Britain is no country for hundreds of thousands chronically lonely old men for whom Christmas is "just another day"

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The charity 'Age UK' has commissioned a film,‘Just Another Day’, to portray the reality of old men and women in Britain spending Christmas alone. There are close on a million of them.

The film depicts the daily routine of an old man who walks unnoticed beside those going about their business on the street and at the supermarket, until his routine is brought to a dramatic halt when he realises the shops are closed for Christmas. In fact, directed by Philippe Andre, through the production company 'Independent,' it follows his unchanging daily routine without human contact across the seasons, where Christmas is just another day. It has been shown in key locations across the country during Christmas ‘together moments’. This has included one of London’s busiest Stations, Euston, which displayed moving messages to consumers as they passed through the station.

Today, on Christmas Eve, the finale of the Christmas campaign will feature on London’s iconic 'Storm Cromination', reaching people as they travel home to loved ones.

Kathi Hall, Head of Content Strategy and Brand at Age UK, said : “Launching our Christmas campaign is a very special time of year for us because it gives us the chance to show the day in day out reality of chronic loneliness and raise much needed funds for the charity to help vulnerable older people. Working with Philippe we believe we have been able to capture the poignancy of loneliness in powerful content that will stay in people’s minds well after the Christmas season is over.”

Philippe himself has said : “It was very important for me to make this film for such a great cause. I truly hope people will be moved by the film and become more conscious about this massive problem older people are suffering from in silence and isolation. My goal was to recreate what is loneliness for older people.  I truly think it will touch the audience.”

Age UK has said that research has shown that some 873,000 people aged 65 and over don’t see or hear from anyone for days on end over the festive period. Some two-fifths of those in need of company are widowed.

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, has said: “Loneliness doesn’t only affect older people over the Christmas period, but because most of us expect to spend this time of the year enjoying ourselves with family and friends it can make those who are unwillingly on their own feel all the more left out and miserable. For many lonely older people the festive season also brings back memories of happier times in years gone by, reminding them of partners and other close relatives and friends who are no longer around and who they sorely miss. Chronic loneliness is not only horrible to experience day in, day out, it can also have a devastating impact on an older person’s mental and physical health.”

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