Press Release - 30/7/21 - Embargoed 12.00

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Covid-19 makes ageing without children “a lonely place to be”  

 

A report released today by the charity Ageing Without Children highlights just how invisible people ageing without children feel, and how for many this feeling of social exclusion has increased during the pandemic when the situation and experiences of people living without family or familial support were not reflected in government messaging, policy statements or the media.

 

The report is based on a survey of over 200 people in the UK and their responses reveal that

 

·        over 50% felt more isolated due to the impact of  the pandemic and lockdown  

 

“People don’t realise that when you are on your own, without partners or children, that no-one checks on you.”

 

·        media coverage was perceived as too focused on the experiences of families and stories of family separation           with no acknowledgement of the situation of the growing numbers of people who can not rely upon family for             the more practical and emotional support they need as they grow older

 

“We have been forgotten, ignored and marginalised……There was no-one stood at the bottom of our garden path waiting anxiously to be reunited with us when lockdown lifted. It is a lonely place to be.”

 

·        That fears around ageing and (dying) alone increased and that the pandemic itself reinforced ageist narratives           of vulnerability and dependence which made many fear for the future in terms of health and care support

 

“Brought home my vulnerability and how few people there are who would look out for me. Having felt quite independent previously, it’s difficult to ask for help”

 

 

Kirsty Woodard, Founder of AWOC said “Whilst we would never begrudge those with relatives the support that families can bring, the pandemic has highlighted the invisibility of those who do not have children to support them in times of crisis and need. The assumption is that children and families will step in to help their older relatives, but this survey shows that for a large section of older people this simply isn’t the case. Those ageing without children continue to be invisible.”

 

Paul Goulden, Chair of AWOC said “We have seen that some local authorities are putting the needs of those ageing without children as a core part of their planning for older people, and we would urge anyone working with ageing or older people to look at how they approach those who do not have the support of children or families. There is a free toolkit produced by the National Care Forum to help organisations become more aware of the needs those ageing without children and this is would be a great first step for anyone looking to change their way of supporting those ageing without children.”

Notes:

An infographic on the survey can be found here and the full report "A lonely place to be" can be downloaded here.

For media comment contact Paul Goulden via info@awoc.org.uk