Ageing without children

There is still an assump­tion that all old­er peo­ple in the UK have chil­dren or grand­chil­dren who will be able to help them in lat­er life.

This assump­tion encom­pass­es every­day prac­ti­cal help such as shop­ping, DIY, mow­ing the lawn, call­ing or vis­it­ing to check they are OK, help­ing them man­age finances and every­day life or the more hands-on per­son­al care. Ser­vices for old­er peo­ple still plan and oper­ate on this mis­as­sump­tion. How­ev­er, one in five peo­ple over 50 are not par­ents, while oth­ers enter lat­er life with­out chil­dren because of death, estrange­ment or dis­tance. By 2030 an esti­mat­ed 2 mil­lion peo­ple over the age of 65 will be with­out adult children.

The research report Our Voic­es high­lights the con­cerns voiced direct­ly by peo­ple age­ing with­out chil­dren. Six main themes emerge from expe­ri­ences that par­tic­i­pants described in their own words: feel­ing invis­i­ble; being judged unfavourably for not hav­ing chil­dren; hav­ing no one to tell your sto­ry’ when you are no longer able to tell it your­self; the trig­ger-point’ sig­nif­i­cance of becom­ing a car­er one­self; the issues of prac­ti­cal sup­port; and los­ing touch with oth­er generations. 

Pub­lished joint­ly by the Beth John­son Foun­da­tion and Age­ing With­out Chil­dren, the report can be down­loaded from https://​age​ing​with​outchil​dren​.files​.word​press​.com/​2016​/​01​/​o​u​r​-​v​o​i​c​e​s​-​f​i​n​a​l​-​r​e​p​o​r​t​1.pdf