A South Tyneside care home is on the hunt for lonely elderly people to join its Christmas celebrations.
Staff at Palmersdene, in Jarrow, are inviting five older people to spend Christmas Day with them.
It comes after John Lewis launched its Christmas advert in partnership with Age UK, raising awareness of the issue of loneliness amongst older people and encouraging others to support in any way they can.”
Maureen Kane, manager of the home in Grange Road West, said: “For most people, Christmas is a lovely time spent with their families and loved ones, but for some it can be very lonely.
“Some older people don’t have children and have no one to spend Christmas with, and I can’t bear the thought of anyone being alone – I wouldn’t like it if it was my mam.
“We always try to go all out at Christmas for our residents, because some of them don’t have anyone else and we are their family.
“It’s not a big, wild party, it’s a traditional Christmas at home with the family.”
The five people who go along to Palmersdene on December 25 will enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner, games, singalongs, and a buffet tea.
Maureen added: “We’ll pick them up in a taxi on the morning and they can spend all day with us and hopefully have a lovely time.
“They’ll be welcome to stay for a buffet tea too, and if we’ve got a spare bed and they’d like to stay over, they’d be more than welcome to, otherwise we’ll get them a taxi home as well, all free of charge.
“We don’t want anyone to spend Christmas alone this year. Older people have done a lot for us and Christmas is a time to really give back to the community.
“Everyone’s circumstances are different and not everyone has someone to spend the day with.”
The gesture from Palmersdene gives a similar message to the new John Lewis advert, which saw the shop team up with charity Age UK to raise awareness of older people spending the festive period alone.
It sees an old man living alone on the moon and a young girl who reaches out to him.
Maureen said: “I’ve had this idea for a while now and I couldn’t believe it when I saw the advert – I cried. It’s exactly why we want to do this.”
lOlder people who would like to join staff and residents at Palmersdene on Christmas Day can call Maureen on 0191 428 0660. People can also nominate their neighbours.