Ageing without children

There is still an assumption that all older people in the UK have children or grandchildren who will be able to help them in later life.

This assumption encompasses everyday practical help such as shopping, DIY, mowing the lawn, calling or visiting to check they are OK, helping them manage finances and everyday life or the more hands-on personal care. Services for older people still plan and operate on this misassumption. However, one in five people over 50 are not parents, while others enter later life without children because of death, estrangement or distance. By 2030 an estimated 2 million people over the age of 65 will be without adult children.

The research report Our Voices highlights the concerns voiced directly by people ageing without children. Six main themes emerge from experiences that participants described in their own words: feeling invisible; being judged unfavourably for not having children; having no one ‘to tell your story’ when you are no longer able to tell it yourself; the ‘trigger-point’ significance of becoming a carer oneself; the issues of practical support; and losing touch with other generations.

Published jointly by the Beth Johnson Foundation and Ageing Without Children, the report can be downloaded from