Frequently asked questions
Where did the idea for AWwoC come from?
There were three key factors that brought about the founding of AWwoC:
Who founded AWwoC?
AWwoC was founded in 2014 by Kirsty Woodard. The first directors were Mervyn Eastman, Chair of Positive Ageing in London, Jody Day who set up Gateway Women for childless-by-circumstance women and Dr Robin Hadley from Keele University who is an expert in childlessness in older men.
What do you mean by ‘without children’?
How many people are we talking about?
Is AWwoC open to men as well?
AWwoC is open to both men and women and those who identify as transgender or non-binary. The issues of ageing without children affects everyone irrelevant of gender or sexuality.
Haven’t most people ageing without children made a choice not to have them?
This is a frequent, but incorrect assumption. What research there is on post-fertile women, suggests that approximately 10% of women choose not to have children, 10% were unable to do so for medical reasons and 80% are childless due to other circumstances. Unfortunately, the statistics for men and for those who are transgender or non-binary are not yet available. It is our view that it doesn’t matter why people arrive at later life without children; the issues people face will be the same whether they chose not to have children or wanted them and couldn’t have them.
Why does it matter if older people don’t have children?
Why do you assume people’s children will look after them?
The fact is that 92% of carers are family members and all the evidence we have suggests that the vast majority of people with children do get a lot of support from them when they are older. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally children do offer support to their older parents if they are in a position to do so. This support can be anything from helping with small everyday tasks that enable older people able to live at home independently for longer, to managing carers to providing hands on personal care. This may require a few hours a day or several days a week. Some adult children are the full-time carers of their parents. Often one of the key things people’s children do is advocate on their behalf, arranging services, interceding with third parties, monitoring what is provided, identifying when things are not working properly and making complaints. AWwoC’s most recent survey identified that the key worry for most people ageing without children is the lack of someone to speak on their behalf.
Why do you think people’s children should look after them? Aren’t they allowed to have their own lives?
We don’t. We absolutely think that adult children should not have to fill the gaps in social care and health services or deal with services and institutions on behalf of their parents. We believe there should be a range of services available to people in later life to help them stay independent for as long as possible. We think adult children should be free to spend quality time with their parents rather than having to do tasks that could, or should, be done by others including social care and health professionals. If we make things better for people ageing without children, we will make things better for all older people.
How is AWwoC funded?
Since its founding, AWwoC received small grants and support from other organisations in the ageing sector including the Beth Johnson Foundation, Age UK London, Transform Ageing, Prama Care and Independent Age.
How can I help?
Donations are always very welcome. It is also very helpful if you join our mailing list so we can keep you up to date with our plans. You could join our Facebook group. You could also encourage local organisations to download our Resource Pack.
I’d like to start a local AWwoC group how do I do this?
If you are interested in starting you own group, please email us firstname.lastname@example.org