We know all about the challenges facing vulnerable older people in rural England. This particular category of the over 65 population is worthy of particular attention and one we seldom think of as a discrete group. This story tells us:

More than 1m childless people over 65 are ‘dangerously unsupported’

More than 1 million people aged over 65 without children are “dangerously unsupported”, and at acute risk of isolation, loneliness, poor health, poverty and being unable to access formal care, according to a report.

The number of childless older people in the UK is expected to double by 2030, putting huge pressure on a health and social care system that is already struggling to support the vulnerable, warned Kirsty Woodard, founder of the organisation, Ageing Well Without Children (AWwoC).

“Read any report on inequalities on ageing and you’ll see the adverse impact of being isolated with poor support networks, loneliness, poor health and a low income,” said Woodard. “Certain groups will be highlighted as being particularly at risk, carers for example, people from the LGBT communities, people with disabilities.

“However, one group you will hardly ever see mentioned despite being overrepresented in many of the above at risk categories is people ageing without children – even though they are disproportionately represented in every one of those categories.”

According to Woodard’s analysis, individuals ageing without children have worse health, worse health behaviours and higher mortality rates than parents. Those who are not childless through choice have higher levels of depression and anxiety as they age.

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