Exploring ageing without children in the context of later life inequalities

Recordings and presentations from this event are available here.

The number of people in the UK ageing without family support is increasing and will continue to do so. Together, we will explore how this experience intersects with other key issues in later life and discuss ways to raise awareness and develop much-needed support.

We'll hear from individuals who identify as ageing without children, shedding light on their diverse and often overlooked or misunderstood experiences. We'll discuss the challenges they face, especially regarding the availability of support to ensure they can live the life they want to live.

At the heart of the event, we have planned breakout sessions where you can explore different aspects of the ageing without children experience. These sessions will cover topics such as social care, disability, rural communities, dementia, and faith.

Don't miss this unique event where we will challenge assumptions, ignite meaningful discussions, and pave the way for a more inclusive future for people ageing without children. Register now and become part of the solution.

Thank you to our partners at Ageing Without Children (opens new window) and Community Catalysts (opens new window) for making this event possible.


11.30 - 11.55   Introduction and setting the context  

11.55 - 12.35   Breakout 1 - move to one of the following rooms:

  • Faith Communities: Can they ever be enough?

  • The Good Life? What’s working well for people in rural places?

  • Intersectionality; ageing without children and the implications for policy

12.35 - 12.45   Break  

12.45 - 13.25   Breakout 2 - move to one of the following rooms:

  • Who will speak up for me when I need care and support?
  • Ageing without children and dementia

  • Growing older as people with learning disabilities

13.25 - 13.50   Panel discussion on routes to change   

13.50 - 14.00   Next steps and taking this work forward  

Breakout rooms

Faith Communities: Can they ever be enough?

The session will look at the different ways in which faith communities can offer support to people inside and outside their community – and the limitations of that support.

  • Sian Lockwood, Churchwarden in an Anglican Church

The Good Life? What’s working well for people in rural places?

Explore the growing concern that people ageing without children in rural places are at risk of poorer outcomes. We will explore what is working well, sharing approaches that can help people lead fulfilling lives as connected, contributing citizens of their own rural communities for longer.

  • Ivan Annibal, Operations Director, National Centre for Rural Health and Care
  • Yvonne Wiacek, Founder, Ageing Without Children Dorset
  • Nick Sinclair, Director of the Local Area Coordination Network, Community Catalysts

Intersectionality; ageing without children and the implications for policy 

We’ll talk you through what intersectionality means, and how might we understand ageing without children differently if we look at it through the lens of intersectionality. As well as this we will focus on practical things that can be done to face these challenges.

  • Clenton Farquharson, Chair, TLAP
  • Kate Pieroudis, Senior Co-production Advisor, TLAP
  • Jason Bergen, Project Manager, Age-Friendly Manchester

Who will speak up for me when I need care and support?

The session will hear directly from Jean who will share the real fears of members of her local AWOC group on getting older, and needing some care and support to live a good life. We will explore a range of options that could provide people who are AWOC, good, affordable care alternatives to the usual limited choices on offer. We will look at how providers of care could understand and respond to the specific needs and concerns of people who are AWOC. People will be asked to make a small pledge at the end of the session on the changes that they can make in their corner of the world!

  • Jean Basson, Member, AWOC group in Leeds
  • Jennie Collieson, Trustee, AWOC
  • Helen Allen, Director, Community Catalysts
  • Liz Jones, Policy Director, National Care Forum
  • Professor Jerry Tew, Professor of Mental Health and Social Work, University of Birmingham

Ageing without children and dementia

A third of people with dementia who live in the community (not in a care home) live alone. Some of these will have informal support from family and friends, but others will not. In this session, we will present findings from a research project exploring the needs and experiences of people with dementia who live alone and who do not have informal support to contact and navigate services. We will share findings about service provision, and experiences of people with dementia who are in this situation themselves. We will also talk about how we have involved this group in our research.

  • Dr Jenni Brooks, Associate Professor of Social Policy, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Many Willcox, Researcher, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Damian Murphy, Co-director, Innovations in dementia

Growing older as people with learning disabilities

This session will explore the experiences and challenges of growing older with a learning disability. It will explore two learning disability england members work around growing older and share the experience of one of our life-time members with a learning disability.

  • Rachel Hall, Engagement Lead, Learning Disability England


Ian McCreath

Director, Think Local Act Personal

Kirsty Woodard

Founder, Ageing Without Children