AGEING WITHOUT CHILDREN – WHAT WE’VE LEARNED IN OUR FIRST 3 YEARS
It’s now 3 years since the first blog about ageing without children which was later picked up by The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/social-life-blog/2014/apr/25/ageing-without-children-family-care
In those 3 years we’ve learned a lot!
People ageing without children includes more than just those who have never been parent through choice or through circumstance. It also encompasses those
whose children predeceased them
estranged from their children
whose children live far away
whose children are unable to support them for another reason e.g. they have a long term disability or they are in prison
The key thing is that that people ageing without children have no adult child or children they can count on to offer them help and support in later life.
Despite the mainstream media focusing almost 100% on being without children as a woman’s issue, there may well be more men than women ageing without children. The ONS does not keep statistics of men who are not fathers but European academics have estimated that in the UK 23% of men are not fathers in later life compared with 20% of women.
Despite a widespread belief that families do little to help older people, 92% of informal carers are family members, usually a spouse/partner and/or adult children
1 million people over 65 in the UK have never been parents
In 2017 for the first time there are older people who need family care than there is family to supply it
Despite both of the above, services and policy for older people are still based on the assumption that there is family
WE could find no research on the experiences of people from black and minority communities who are ageing without children – and very little research on the experiences of people with disabilities, LGBT and other excluded communities
Our 2015 survey identified that having no one to speak up for them was people ageing without children’s biggest fear
People ageing without children are no more likely to be lonely in old age than people with children http://sciencenordic.com/older-people-just-happy-without-children
The main reason people approach AWOC is when they first become a carer for their own parents
Ageing without children cuts across multiple issues – social exclusion, practical support, care services, advocacy, housing, legal issues and inter-generational contact. The only way to tackle these issues is collectively and strategically. We need a strategy for people ageing without children
If you have changed anything in your life or job as a result of knowing more about ageing without children, please do let us know in the comments