Aging Without Children - Have You Planned For Your Later-Life Care?

Post by: Eastlands Estate, 28 Jul 2020

Louise took care of her elderly parents for years until they passed away within months of each other. She did their grocery shopping, helped clean the house, prepared meals and took them to their increasingly frequent doctor’s appointments. It was only after they were both gone that Louise, now in her late 50s and childless, suddenly thought “Wow, who’s going to do all that for me?”

Louise is just one of the millions of childfree people faced with aging without children to rely on for later-life care.

The Institute of Public Policy Research estimates that by 2030 in the UK, there will be two million people over the age of 65 without adult children – up from 1.2 million in 2012. Of these, approximately 230,000 will need more than 20 hours’ care a week, and many will have to find this support from someone other than immediate family.

In South Africa, such exact numbers aren’t freely available, but we do know that almost 18% of South African women born between 1967 and 1971 are childless.

Of course, there’s never a guarantee that even if you do have children, they will be willing or able to take care of you when you’re old. And even if they are, many parents would rather not be a burden on their kids.

But there’s no escaping the fact that many elderly people do receive at least some kind of regular care and assistance from their children.

So, what does that mean for childfree people? Without the cushion of children, or perhaps even close family to lean on, what plans should they be making for their senior years? 

Leverage Your Advantage
Child-free people are often more independent and resourceful than couples with children. Having never had children as facilitators of friendships, they have had years of practice of finding ways to fill up their social calendars and avoid loneliness. This is a valuable skill that will prove very useful as old age approaches.

But socially independent or not, there are things you can do to make sure your golden years are just that, and not full of worry about who will take care of you when you’re no longer as able to do so yourself:

Start Early
Deciding where, and how, you’d like to age is a very important decision. When you’re aging alone, you need to make plans while you’re still independent and functional. Find out about what resources are available in your community, or investigate alternative communities better suited to older people.  

Assess what your future needs are likely to be, factoring in considerations such as transport, for example. If you’re no longer able to drive, consider moving to an area where you can safely walk to the shops. Or why not think about a retirement community, where regular shuttles to shopping centres are available for residents?

Cultivate Your Social Network
If you haven’t already got a good network of friends, now is the time to start developing one! It’s probably not feasible to rely on your friends for long-term care, but it’s great to know you have someone checking in on you, bringing you the odd meal when you’re ill, or running errands when you’re unable. It can be more difficult to make friends later in life, so think about joining a class or club, or volunteering at a charity. Activities like these offer regular exposure to new groups of people and the potential to make new and valuable friends.

Think About Your Home
Don’t wait until you can no longer manage the stairs in your home before deciding to make a change. As we age, mobility becomes more of an issue, and there is the potential of knee and hip problems to consider. Moving into a single-storey home while you’re still fit enough to do so without too much stress is a savvy move.

Consider A Retirement Community
Most, if not all, of the potential pitfalls of aging without children are solved by choosing to live in the right retirement estate.

At Eastlands Mature Lifestyle Estate, for example, residents’ future health and care needs are catered for through our Healthcare and Wellness Centre, managed by CareLife. Their model is focused squarely at caring for people who require assistance, but all the while ensuring they are surrounded by positivity and an environment unlike any care facilities before them. 

Additional facilities such as laundry and cleaning services, hairdresser and beauty salon, a shuttle bus, restaurant, coffee shop and library mean you have everything you could ever need right at your fingertips.

If aging without children has been worrying you, let us take that weight off your shoulders. Contact us to find out about a visit to our wonderful Estate.


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