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New toolkit sheds light on the “invisible million” older people

There are 1.5 million people over 65 in the UK without adult children . This group of older people has been all but invisible in thinking and planning policy on ageing.

The National Care Forum and Ageing without Children have joined forces to produce a toolkit for social care and support organisations to help them better understand and support this growing group of older people. This has been shaped by the expertise of both AWOC and NCF members who provide a wide range of care and support services and we are now offering it to the wider social care sector.

Kirsty Woodard author of the toolkit said:

“People ageing without children are far more likely to rely on paid for care services for support in their later life. We know that people ageing without children are 25% more likely to go into a care home for example . Despite this, until now there has been nothing to help organisations better understand this large and growing group of older people. We really hope that the toolkit which is free to download will be a valuable resource to all organisations who work with older people.”

The toolkit aims to help organisations understand

  • What is meant by ageing without children
  • The impact it has on individuals
  • What it means for service delivery and planning
  • How to raise awareness both internally and externally

Liz Jones, Policy Director of the NCF said:

“Part of our role at the National Care Forum is to help our members and the wider social care sector to keep innovating and adapting to make sure that we offer the best quality and range of care and support to our current and future customers.

“The NCF is delighted to be leading the way with AWOC in developing this unique toolkit. We have worked closely with Kirsty Woodard and a number of NCF members to help organisations understand what is meant by ageing without children, what impact it has on individuals throughout their lives and what it means for service design and delivery.

“Special thanks also go to the PRAMA Foundation, whose early pioneering work in this field inspired the development of this toolkit together with The Salvation Army, Leicester Ageing Together, Age Exchange, Housing 21 and Keychange Charity who helped bring it to life.”

The toolkit can be downloaded from the National Care Forum website: or from the AWOC website from 13th July.

The Generation Strain, IPPR, 2014

Childlessness at the end of life: evidence from rural Wales WENGER G. Clare Ageing and Society, 29(8), November 2009, pp.1243-1259.Cambridge University Press

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