For millions of people, having children was simply not something they ever wanted to do. But those people entering retirement age or beyond without children are discovering they now have no one to rely on for care now that they are getting to the age where caring for themselves is becoming increasingly difficult.
For some, this isn’t a problem. They knew in plenty of time that they would need to make provisions to provide for their care once they reached a certain age. But for others, who didn’t realize that they’d have no one to rely on, and this is quickly becoming a major concern.
According to this August 2013 report by the AARP, nearly 12% of women ages 80 to 84 were childless in 2010.
Currently, the ratio of caregivers per person is about 7 to 1, but by 2030 that ratio is predicted to drop to 4 to 1. Simply put, this means elderly people without children are quickly finding that their options for care and support are dwindling- and the prospects for seniors without kids are even worse.
The New York Times reports that many childless seniors are extending their notions of family to nieces, nephews, friends and neighbors to their support network.They also raise questions about housing arrangements, health care, and financial planning. Many seniors wait far too long before deciding who to put in charge of these matters, making planning for their future care much more difficult. Everyone should be considering an planning for these issues much earlier, but childless people especially should be making special plans for their future needs.
Housing plans, such as where they are going to live and who they are going to live with, who is going to pay for rent and other utilities, and funeral expenses need to be worked out before the situation arises. This will minimize any difficulties and ensure needs will be met when the time comes.
Where to Turn
But if you are childless and looking for help in setting all this up, where can you turn for help and advice? For many, the AARP is a great place to start. They have a lot of great connections for retirees and seniors and can help get people in touch with financial planners, insurance providers, housing tips, and many other aspects of senior living that people need to be aware of.
And of course, saving money can always help. Many people save the money they would have spent raising kids, and over 17 to 20 years that can add up to quite a nest egg that can be used to cover future costs and ensure they are taken care of in their golden years.
For many seniors without children, planning for their future well being was an afterthought. But, with a few resources and creative planning, they can make the decisions now to ensure their future is taken care of and live the rest of their lives securely and healthily- on their own.