My heart broke in two when I watched a news report a couple of days ago, about loneliness in elderly people, especially at Christmas, on the Sky News Channel. Without going too much in to specifics I was saddened to my core to see an elderly lady talking about her continuing loneliness, despite having a family who she did not see often.
This got me thinking about in general terms how often an elderly person gets to see their family. Without sounding preachy, this is a subject that shouldn’t have to be brought to the attention of the public, as older people shouldn’t feel isolated and ignored (which is only magnified at Christmas). It’s just mind boggling that this is an epidemic in the UK.
I’ve decided, as a result of my being so very incensed, to write a short theatrical work that demonstrates the reality of the situation. This is to raise awareness of the subject and to bring it to life. How often do you see a play realistically covering the harsh reality of this topic, in the same way you see one of heartbreak or death for example? You get the picture very quickly! Theatre is a way of telling stories and there are many stories out there that need to be told.
Other communities get their voices heard through theatre and a generation of elderly people finding they have become lonely and forgottern, should do too. A community of despairing and isolated people who were once younger just like us, with real stories to tell of life, should be valued and their plight should be projected, so they aren’t an invisible generation. Christmas is a time of being with those you care about even if it’s once a year, being alone at this time of year only highlights someone’s sadness at the emptiness they have to endure.
It felt very important to share with you my decision to write a work called ‘Jam Roly Poly’. Although it will not be based around the Christmas period, it has been inspired by the sense of often quiet despair at all year round as well as this time of year, more details when it is completed.