‘It’s a constant battle to get any help for my mum even though she’s in her 80s and has dementia. I feel like I’m always having to shout really loudly to get anywhere. I wonder, who will be shouting for me? Or will I be the old lady dying alone in a hospital bed because no one cares?’
Britain is an ageing society and there are now over 1 million people aged over 65 who have never been parents. This is predicted to double to 2 million by 2030.
At a time of austerity and reductions in public services, social care support for older people has been hit particularly hard and the Government’s response has largely focused on the need for families to do more. There is increasing pressure on family carers and Carers UK report that 600 people a day are leaving their jobs because of the overwhelming demands of being a carer.
People who are ageing without children are a third more likely to be carers for their own parents with all the difficulties this brings in terms of employment, stress and isolation. Caring for their own parents brings up the difficult question for people ageing without children “Who will care for me?”
Understanding what it means to be ageing without children and how it affects people in later life is crucial for organisations who plan and commission services for older people.
Jill Lamede who lives in Cornwall, has no children and cared for her husband and her mother said:
"We know how hard we had to fight to get the help, financial and practical, that our loved ones needed as they approached their deaths. Who will now fight for us? Unless I die suddenly from an accident, heart attack or stroke, I anticipate that, as I become incapable of coping at home alone, I will be shoved into the cheapest available care home"
How does this impact on services for older people, the wider community and most importantly on people ageing without children themselves?
On 6 February Ageing Well Without Children (AWwoC) is launching its new website and publishing a Guide for Organisations to help tackle the issues affecting the growing numbers of people who are ageing without children.
Speaking today Kirsty Woodard Founder and CEO of Ageing Well Without Children said:
“We hope this website will give everyone more information about ageing without children as well as helping individuals who are ageing without children connect with each other. To help with that we’ve created a guide for organisations who want to set up groups aimed at people ageing without children”
The Guide which can be freely downloaded from the AWwoC website, was created with help from PRAMA, a Dorset based organisation working with older people. Their Chief Executive, Steve Robinson said: "We are immensely impressed with the work that Kirsty and AWwoC have achieved. Her insight and passion are inspirational and this is demonstrated in the depth and quality of the work she has done with us to make us, and others across our county, AWwoC aware."
Welcoming the new AWwoC website, Paul Goulden, Chief Executive of Age UK London said:
"This is an important resource for organisations that support older people and need to appreciate the special circumstances and issues that ageing without children can bring.”
For more information contact: Kirsty Woodard, AWwoC CEO on 07919 335680 or email firstname.lastname@example.org