Thursday, March 31, 2011

Article: "Aging Without Children"

Getting older without children to look in on us & take care of us (we hope) is something that I know a lot of childless/free people think about. A lot. Probably more so than our peers with children. I know I do, especially since I'm not getting any younger. Not that having children is any guarantee that you won't be lonely in your old age, of course, but the odds are probably more in parents' favour, wouldn't you think? Which is why I appreciate reading articles like this one from the New York Times's The New Old Age blog. While it's frank in its discussion about the challenges of childfree aging, it's also comforting to know there's a new study that shows there is little difference between parents & childless people when it comes to levels of care and psychological well being. Did this article make you feel any better, or just add to your anxiety on this issue? (And does anyone know why my paragraph breaks are not "taking" on Blogger lately??)


  1. This crosses my mind quite a I always say the reason I spoil my nieces and nephews is so that they will pick out a nice home for me when I'm old :)

  2. I've read this type of article before, and they've all said basically the same. That although the popular perception is that we'll be lonely and alone without children in our old age, this is not in fact true. I liked particularly the article that pointed out that those of us with no kids have better circles of friendship and support, whereas parents rely more on their children, who may or may not be there.

    In my own experience, I remember my parents taking a lot of time to look after my great-aunt and uncle when they were in their 80s and frail. They had three children - but they all lived far away, and visited rarely.

    So yes, these articles do make me feel better.

  3. I think for me, it was the bit about being a bit more organized than most. That's what we are talking about. The mundane things you have to think about - who packs up the house and puts it on the market?

    I'm glad I'm not the only one thinking about it.

  4. I know that my parents are 69 and 70, and both have health problems. My sister and I live too far away to be of any assistance; their own brothers/sisters are of more help as they are closer. I wish it were different; God knows I've been trying for years to find a suitable job at home for me so Hubby and I could move. No luck yet. So I am in a perfect position to realize that while I have a child, that may not be the person who cares for me in my latter days. But I also realize that cultivating friendships and connecting with other family members is probably another good route to follow to help ensure that I don't wither away surrounded by fifty cats!

    No clue on the paragraph breaks; I am having the same trouble.

  5. Just this morning, I had a conversation with our Senior Center Director about aging in place and other issues. She has a caregivers support group and she was talking about how many caregivers - mostly children - are long distance. This, I thought, is another example of how having children does not necessarily mean they are around to help you as they age. My mother wil be 79 this year. One sister lives with her currently, but that is hopefully (for both of them) not a permanent situation. After that, the nearest sibling is 90 minutes away. We have already seen how we need to rely on the community around my mother to help care for her when needed. They say it takes a community to raise a child - well it takes one to care for the elderly as well. My husband and I are keeping these issues in mind in our retirement plans. while not necessarily moving to a retirement community, we will certainly be moving to one that is accomodating to us as we age.

  6. F***, I'm hoping I live long enough to see the Precious into adulthood. I can't see my relying upon him to take care of me because he won't be old enough or mature enough.

    My mum has 3 kids, but I am the only in town to take care of her. And even though she's in a home, it's still a VERY difficult job. In fact, if she were living with me, I would have had a breakdown. So do I wish that on the only kid I have? No. That's not a plan. That's a recipe for chaos.