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I offer free 30 minute telephone/Skype consultations for people wanting to find out more about coaching on the 'baby decision'. Email me at mailto:beth@ticktockcoaching.co.uk and assistant Laura will respond and arrange an appointment with you. Visit http://www.ticktockcoaching.co.uk/ for more information about my coaching services.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Who will look after me when I'm older if I don't have children?


'By 2030, two million people in the UK will be over the age of 65 without children. One in four women born in the 1970s will reach 45 without giving birth. This month a conference, the first of its kind, will be held for childless adults over 50 to meet and discuss their care needs in later life. And a BBC poll has found more than half of adults say they won't have relatives they can live with in old age.' ~ BBC press release

Today I been contacted by a few regional BBC radio talk shows to speak on the issue of getting older and not having children.  I've been interviewed on Radio Tees this morning and will be on Radio Scotland Tomorrow. 

I'm very interested in the issue as it's one of the key fears that clients who are considering being childfree often have.   And it is a very real concern.  Many people in the UK rely on the unpaid support of friends or family as they get older.    As a report by the charity Community Links called 'Looking Forward to Later Life: Taking an Early Action Approach to Our Ageing Society'  (photo of front cover on the right) points out,  the value of unpaid care by family and friends is valued at £119bn per year.

But there are many problems in assuming that older people will have children who will look after them.  Even if someone does have children, the nature of how we live today is that many people end up living and working far from their family of origin.  Indeed how little they see their adult children can be point of bitterness for older people.

In my opinion, it is far better to promote mental resilience in later life.  This is an idea that also is promoted by the Community Links report.

When I work with clients for whom this is a concern (and who do have several decades to prepare), I coach them to think about how they can address this risk and prepare for it.  For example, they might decide they need to make more connections in their local community now - through joining community groups as volunteers.  They might decide to plan move somewhere like a co-housing situation where there are built in expectations of support and community.  Or they might look at the idea of fostering young people when they are older - to both give back and to develop connections with younger people.

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