You may already be familiar with the terms. It refers to older individuals who do not have any family to provide care for them. They have either outlived their family or are estranged from them. With our aging demographics we are working with many single women who do not have any children.
Society has shifted and traditional models of care that were supported by nuclear and extended families and communities have changed. Our families are smaller, gender roles are shifting, more people seek full time employment to keep families financially stable. People are living longer, outliving their friends and families, and live further away from familial supports. Further, more people are choosing lifestyles other than the traditional nuclear family. This has added new challenges to caring and being cared for. Many talk about struggling to juggle the different pressures that modern life brings and how it impacts their capacity to care for those around them or to find the care that they need.
This can leave many feeling isolated and can seriously impact physical, mental and financial health of caregivers and those being cared for.
How we care for one another and planning for who cares for us is evolving. Many of us do not want to rely on the government to provide our care or make our care decisions. There is no one size fits all solution. Building communities and creative approaches will be critical. There have been several co housing initiatives that are/have started whereby like- minded individuals create their own communities.
The following articles touch on some of these challenges and solutions.
A recent Toronto Star article reflects on ‘all the single senior ladies’.
Sonia Sodha considers the challenge of finding care and providing care for the childless. She suggests that “resolving the question of what the state can and ought to do is relatively easy compared with the much knottier problem of how to create a society that has an abundance of the things – love, companionship, emotional support – that the state can never hope to provide”. If you have no children, who will care for you when you’re old?
Golden Girls Here We Come!