Blog

One of the many things that make aging without children so difficult for people to engage with is that bluntly, thinking about it is hugely uncomfortable. There are many wonderful campaigners – Beth Britton http://d4dementia.blogspot.co.uk  Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones of Johns Campaign http://johnscampaign.org.uk , Gill Phillips http://nutshellcomms.co.uk to name only a few who have taken the poor experiences and treatment of their parents and used them to campaign to improve the experiences of all older people. As you read the stories of what happened to their parents and the things they had to do, it’s easy to empathize and think how you would feel if it were your parents going through the same thing. Its harder to start to think about, in detail, what happens to people with no one to fight for them.

One of the many consequences of there being more people aging without children is that more and more people are not, and never will be grandparents. 1 in 5 people over 50 have no children and therefore of course no grandchildren. In addition, there are many more older people who do have children but those children will never be parents, and therefore who will also not be grandparents.

Over the next 20/30 years, there will be unprecedented numbers of people without children reaching the oldest old age. Policy and planning focused on older people being supported by their children/grandchildren in later life will not meet this need and risks leaving individuals ageing without children dangerously unsupported. Research has shown that smaller families in general means that wider family networks cannot be depended on to “step up” in the absence of children and that wider unpaid care networks made up of wider kin and friends do not substitute for children as health declines. This means that there will be a greater reliance on formal care services at a time when they have never been under such intense pressure.

There has been an interesting thread on our Facebook group this week based on people’s experiences of not being in the grandparents club. People talked of being at retirement parties, family get-togethers, clubs they belonged too & even holidays with friends where they were treated as completely invisible because they couldn’t join in with the grandparent chat. The exclusion of nongrandparents is something we’ve blogged about before http://awoc.org/loneliness-its-not-enough-to-be-happy-to-chat-you-have-to-be-ready-to-listen-too/

Dignity in Dying

What is death? It is the moment of transition – the natural full stop to life. It is something we must all experience. We can choose to fear death – but that fear can poison our lives. Better that we should accept that death will come – to each of us and to those we love. Death is not a failure… it is a completion.