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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 and assistant Laura will respond and arrange an appointment with you. Visit for more information about my coaching services.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Looking after each other - Getting Older Without Children

One of the common fears of my clients is that they will be lonely, un-cared for when they get older if they don't have children.   Getting older without children is a big concern for those people who don't have children - either by choice or by circumstance.   We live in a world which assumes that if you are older you will have children or younger relatives who will help you - take you to the doctor, ensure you take medicine, and generally keep an eye on you.  At the same time, society has become more fragmented and there is a sense that neighbours don't know each other as they used to. (However, this could be nostalgia)

 According to recent research carried out by the Campaign to End Loneliness:

17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month (Victor et al, 2003)
Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2010)
Two fifths all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK, 2014)
63% of adults aged 52 or over who have been widowed, and 51% of the same group who are separated or divorced report, feeling lonely some of the time or often (Beaumont, 2013)
59% of adults aged over 52 who report poor health say they feel lonely some of the time or often, compared to 21% who say they are in excellent health (Beaumont, 2013)
A higher percentage of women than men report feeling lonely some of the time or often  (Beaumont, 2013)

In the UK, an organisation was set up to address this issue.  Called Aging without Children, the group says that:

Our vision is “Ageing well together without children” and our mission is “campaigning, information and support for people ageing without children”.campaigning, information and support for people ageing without children”.

Our  aims are threefold:

Illuminate – to generate greater awareness and understanding of this segment of the older population and of the implications of ageing without children for public services and society more broadly.
Connect – to build networks, connecting and enabling locality-based and online communities of older people without children.
Innovate – through working in partnership and stimulating action by other entities, to facilitate the development and testing of new services and initiatives that meet the needs of older people without children – and, more broadly, of our ageing society.

Other groups of adults without children are getting together to address some of these issues in practical ways.   In the article While I'll be spending my golden years with my golden girls, Kiran Sidhu writes about her and her friends light-hearted plans to buy a house together to live in and support each other when they are older so they will never be lonely.

'My friends and I have come up with an alternative way to live out our golden years. When the time comes, we have decided that we will pool all our resources and buy a property that we will live in. According to Age UK, more than 2 million people in England over the age of 75 live alone, and more than a million older people say they go for more than a month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or family member. With our alternative old-age plan, we hope to avoid that loneliness. We will all live together and be each other’s carer and emotional companion.'

The Older Women's Housing CoHousing network saw the fruition of their dream realised this year when their co-housing project was built.  This was a great achievement and shows how a multi-generational community, a community where you will grow old with others of different ages, together.

1 comment:

Erica Brown said...

This isn't really related to this post but I wanted to provide everyone an update on my journey. I hope this helps someone asking themselves the same question I have for the past 5 years: "Should I stay or should I go?"

I posted earlier this year about my back and forth decision to have or not have children and how important that decision really was to me. I was tormented by my marriage because I married a man who didn't want children and when I married him I didn't want them, either. Since we got married I was contemplating if I would regret not having them. Back and forth I went, every 3 months or so I would question my decision to not have children. You can read some of my posts on here for some of my weaker moments.

Fast forward to today? I am divorced. It became too big of an issue to ignore and finally I had to decide how to make myself happy and to put myself first before anyone else, including my husband.

I can tell you that while it hasn't been an easy road these past 6 months I have never felt more relieved, happy and joyous to be on the path that I want to be on. I can tell you that I have never felt more alive. I can tell you that sometimes divorce is the answer and we have to make this decision for ourselves in order to get true happiness in life. I can tell you that none of us get out of this life alive or unscathed.

Up until the day I filed I was an unhappy, miserable wife with a tormented soul. If there are some women reading this blog asking yourselves the same thing I challenge you to look at life on the other side and contemplate if having a family is truly something you want. The climb over that fence isn't easy and not every day is fun, but I can promise you that if you listen to your heart and make your decision based on your feelings alone your soul will finally come to rest.

If any of you are like me, I read blog post after post about what decision to make here. Should I leave? Should I stay? Will I regret this decision? Well I can tell you now that I am free to make my own choices and life has never been more beautiful. My life turned bright the day I decided to get out and I never thought I could have the strength, but I found it because deep down I knew I had to make the choice.

I am a divorcee.

I am a strong, smart capable woman who knows what she wants.

I married without getting to know myself first and I will not make the same mistake again.

I hope that someone reading this who is struggling with the same "will I regret it" question understands that sometimes you have to be selfish and make decisions like this for yourself, and divorce isn't the end of the world. I can't tell you it will be easy because it won't. What I can tell you is you will never perform 1 more search for "will I regret it" or "am I making the right choice?" It is amazing the freedom you have when you decide for yourself.

I can tell you that big decisions in life that we are faced with will decide our destiny and those decisions cannot be made for someone else. I can tell you that you will be happy you made the hard decision if you have decided that the torment in your soul cannot go on 1 more day. No one on this planet is worth peace in your heart. NO ONE.

Thanks for reading, if anyone wants to email me for more information please feel free.