30 Mar 2020
The Institute of Public Policy Research estimates that by 2030 there will be 2 million people aged over 65 without adult children, up from 1.2 million in 2012.
Last month I attended the Ageing Without Children (AWOC) national conference in Birmingham. We discussed the importance of planning and preparing for later life, different models of living and housing, the changing social structure of our ageing population and what that means for individuals.
It was a rewarding and enlightening day, sharing ideas and experiences with a wide range of people. As our research Later Life in 2015 shows, the experience of ageing is hugely diverse. Our research shows the importance of social connections – the image often presented is that families, partners and children will be the bedrock of those relationships. While that is true for some, our research highlighted that simply doesn’t reflect the lives of many people as they age.
AWOC defines ‘people ageing without children’ as those over the age of 50 who have no children in their lives, either because they have never been parents or because their children have died, are estranged from them or are living far away.
The Institute of Public Policy Research estimates that by 2030 there will be 2 million people aged over 65 without adult children, up from 1.2 million in 2012. Approximately 230,000 will need more than 20 hours’ care a week, and many will have to find this support from someone other than immediate family.
The growing numbers of people ageing without children is the result of huge social changes over recent decades: changes in household size and structure; people living far away from family members; and increasing numbers of older ‘out’ LGBT people. Some themes kept coming up in conversation throughout the day:
Ageing Better is working to help more people prepare for and manage major life changes, and to live in homes that are suitable and will allow them to live a good later life. The conference underscored for me the importance of finding solutions that will really work for everyone, rather than assuming we are all the same.
Read Patrick’s presentation from AWOC conference.