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Ageing Without Children (AWOC)

Ageing Without Children Toolkit – Helping our members become AWOC Confident

The NCF has worked closely with some of our members to develop this toolkit to help NCF members understand how to become  ‘AWOC Confident’.

By this we mean that individual care provider organisations are ‘An organisation where people ageing without children are understood, included and supported. In an AWOC Confident organisation, staff and volunteers will be aware of and understand the issues affecting people ageing without children and ensure they feel included and confident to access support, participate in activities and the community and able to raise concerns without fear of judgement and exclusion.’

The toolkit:

  • provides the policy context
  • looks at the impact on individuals and services
  • sets out how organisations can be AWOC Confident by linking actions with CQC standards and provides a self-assessment checklist and indicators to help measure progress

Please try out the toolkit for us and let us know how helpful and useable it is! The download link is above in blue.

Evaluation Survey

Once you have used the AWOC toolkit, please complete our evaluation survey that is available at the following link: AWOC Evaluation Survey


Over the last few years, the National Care Forum has become increasingly aware of the growing numbers of people ageing without children. The numbers of people who have not become parents has rapidly risen from 9% of those born in the 1940s, to 20% of those born in the 1960s. This means that in the UK there are already 1.2 million people over the age of 65 who have not become parents and by 2030 this figure is expected to double to over 2 million. There are also already 4 million people over the age of 50 who are not parents and research by the Office for National Statistics indicates that by 2045, there will be 3 times as many people over 80 without children. This is an issue that will only grow.

What is Ageing without Children?

People ageing without children (AWOC) is a far broader group than those who have no children at all. This is because people can be ageing without children because they are estranged from them, their children have predeceased them, or their children may have their own needs which means they cannot help and support their parents in later life.

Implications of AWOC

The implications of this are far-reaching. Currently, the majority of support and care for older people is arranged and/or provided by family principally adult children. However, many more older people are reaching the stage of needing care and support without having adult children to help. Formal care services whether in the statutory, private or voluntary sectors will need to both understand more about the issues affecting people ageing without children so they can design services to meet those needs (including access and communication systems that do not rely on family), and provide more of them to meet the increased demand.

As a care provider, primarily to older people, but including many of different ages and both physical and mental capacities, we all have the responsibility of recognising the often unspoken thoughts, attitudes - and, sometimes deep sadness - of those who were unable to either conceive children or, for many and varied reasons, be parents. Prama considers Ageing Without Children to be an “unprotected characteristic”, one which around 1 in 5 of our clients can relate to. And this number is growing. Prama is delighted to have participated in the preparation of this toolkit and encourages all care providers to take advantage of the resources it contains.

People ageing without children have often been largely invisible in the past – to policy makers, those commissioning services and organisations delivering care. This toolkit is a huge step forward as it will enable organisations to really address how they recognise and support those ageing without children. It will be a vital tool in making sure the support and care they receive is appropriate and sensitive to their needs, and we look forward to supporting it being rolled out within the care sector.