Continuing on from lessons this week on the topic of Homelessness, I decided that following the release of the new John Lewis Christmas ad on Friday morning I would do a lesson on Loneliness, particularly in elderly people with my Senior Religious Education classes. A really good lesson plan and activities is available on Focus Ireland which you can download at Homelessness Lesson. The students were engaged with activities throughout the topic and wanted to do something about the homeless people they see everyday. We are currently discussing ideas about doing a class collaboration surrounding this.
On Friday, I introduced the class to the topic of Loneliness in elderly people by showing the John Lewis Christmas Advert 2015 which is currently trending as #ManOnTheMoon and has over 8 million views and counting. This ad tells the story of a young girl called Lily. She is looking at the moon through her family telescope one night, she is amazed at what she finds, a man on the moon. Lily watches on as the man goes about his chores, all alone up there. She becomes determined to get something to the moon, to send him a message and show him that someone down here is thinking of him. It is a great ad and is a great way to introduce the topic for the students. John Lewis has partnered with Age UK for its Christmas advert with a reminder to consumers to consider those who will be alone this year. The retailer said it had teamed up with Age UK in an effort to raise awareness of the million older people who go for a month, not just at Christmas, without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. As a class group, we discussed who this advert might appeal to and what we do in Ireland to assist the elderly with loneliness or friendship.
I showed the students a Loneliness & The Elderly Powerpoint Presentation that I made (which you are free to download and use if you wish) on the various organisations in Ireland which help the elderly. We discussed some fantastic organisations ALONE, Age Action, Friends of the Elderly and Third Age and the importance of these organisations for the elderly. I also told the students about school initiatives which can help the elderly, which the students were particularly interested in.
I then showed the students a Channel 4 News Report on Loneliness . This clip shows elderly people opening up about their feelings of loneliness. The Channel 4 Report met the faces behind the millions of elderly people who are suffering from the condition. Charity Campaign to End Loneliness claim that one million people are suffering from acute loneliness, while two and a half million over 60s fear they could end up similarly isolated. The report comes as Campaign to End Loneliness released a poll which reveals that one in five people aged 60 and over who experience loneliness say they have no one to turn to. The survey warns that loneliness and isolation is as harmful as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and the charity is calling on local authorities to take the lead on reducing and preventing loneliness in their local areas.
The aim of this lesson was to give students insights into the wider issues that affect older people in general and into the work of the various Irish charities that assist the elderly. There was some excellent ideas in the classes on Friday about how and what we can do to help the elderly which we will definitely be following up with. We must remind the elderly that they are highly valued by so many people and that they are never alone or half the world away and we are always here for them.
As always, please let me know what you think and feel free to use the PowerPoint resource or the clips I have posted here 🙂