The Reflective Call of Carers Ageing without Children and/or Family: ‘Who will be there for me when I need it?

“The issue for childless older people is that while their health is good, they have no disadvantage. However, if and when their health declines and they require support, informal support also reduces and they do not have the safety net of family. Consequently, they are much more likely to experience a ‘care gap’ where they enter formal care earlier, for lesser issues and remain in care longer than equivalent people with family.”

Ageing Issues

Robin Hadleyis an Associate Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, an Early Career Researcher, founder member of the campaign group Ageing Without Children and advisor to the childless advocacy group New Legacy Institute.

In the mid-1980s my father aged 60 died at home of kidney failure – in no small part due to having spent the majority of his working life working nightshift in the newspaper printing industry. In the latter stages of his illness my mother, younger sister, brother Alex* and myself were the main carers. While in the mid- 90s My mother died aged 72 of peritonitis following hospitalisation following a series of strokes. Before hospitalisation, Alex and I were the main carers being available to ‘live-in’ with her in out childhood home. In the past decade two of my older siblings have died of different forms of cancer. Alex* was eight years older than me and…

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