Ageing Without Children

Home » AWOC » Older peoples families are their carers – pretending they are not is why people ageing without children get ignored

Older peoples families are their carers – pretending they are not is why people ageing without children get ignored

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8% of carers are providing care to non family members (Measuring National Well-being Households and Families, 2012), a whacking 92% of care is provided by family, primarily either adult children caring for parents or older couples providing care to a spouse/partner.

And yet still documents routinely refer to “older people their families and carers” as if they are two distinct groups of people. They are not, they are really not and phrases like this hide the extent to which if an older person doesn’t have family to help, they are pretty stuck to say the least.

Next year as The Generation Strain report (IPPR 2014) points out

“as the babyboomer generation ages, a growing ‘family care gap’ will develop as the number of older people in need of care outstrips the number of adult children able to provide it. This is expected to occur for the first time in 2017”

There really are no excuses for organisations working with older people whether state, third sector or private to continue the myth that families aren’t absolutely vital to providing support and care to older people, and that older people without family are at a massive disadvantage. We know that that there are going to be an awful lot more older people without family and this deserves just as much consideration as for example issues around dementia or carers. Perhaps when everyone is planning their conferences and policies on ageing for 2017 this can be front and centre; what are we going to do collectively as the family care gap grows?

We are here, talk to us, we want to help. We know there isn’t any money but we’re very creative! Who knows? The solutions we come up with may even help older people with families too.




  1. cadburycat says:

    Another real issue for a potential non family carer is the estranged son or daughter turning up with a view to claiming their inheritance. It’s as important for someone estranged from their family as it is for someone with none to have proper arrangements in place, particularly if they want to benefit a friend or neighbour who may well know them better and have done more for them than their son or daughter. My experience in nearly 30 years in the legal profession is that when an estranged child turns up their concern is to augment the estate, not benefit the parent.
    I am engaged with a particularly vicious case of this type right now on behalf of the neighbour carer.


  2. This is so true – thank you for highlighting it. People’s eyes need to be opened and they need to take their heads out of the sand, if you’ll excuse my mixed metaphors.


  3. […] Older peoples families are their carers – pretending they are not is why people ageing without children get ignored… […]


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