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Baby shortage - UK economic decline


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20 hours ago, Orb said:

That's the fear though, isn't it? That there will be a hole in my life. 

That thinking is part of the problem. Whenever I tell people that I've no children (I'm 42), their reaction is almost unanimous: "but what about when you're old, who's going to look after you?". It's as if most people want children as a pension plan - an ultimately selfish motivation.

I'm surprised if that is their main reaction. If you need to be looked after, you can pay. If you go to a care home, that kills two birds (you get cared for by staff and have the chance of companionship with the other residents). So the problem isn't really who will look after you, but whether you will have relationships (especially pre-existing relationships) when you are old. I think a lot of childless people still manage this with younger relatives and sometimes not even relatives (my mother's godmother had help from my mother and another friend when living alone after her husband died). Surely the overriding reason for wanting children is that we want to have our own children?

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11 minutes ago, Kosmin said:

I'm surprised if that is their main reaction. If you need to be looked after, you can pay. If you go to a care home, that kills two birds (you get cared for by staff and have the chance of companionship with the other residents). So the problem isn't really who will look after you, but whether you will have relationships (especially pre-existing relationships) when you are old. I think a lot of childless people still manage this with younger relatives and sometimes not even relatives (my mother's godmother had help from my mother and another friend when living alone after her husband died). Surely the overriding reason for wanting children is that we want to have our own children?

Care homes are not nice places. Of course it's not a good reason to have kids in replacement of a pension plan but I do believe that the companionship of children in later life is not something money can buy. My husband's grandfather is frail but can live independently. He is however lonely as many of his friends are dead or in care homes. His daughter (my mother in law) lives in London but flies to Germany multiple times of year to be a companion so he is never alone for more than 2 months at a time. Even during the pandemic. I don't think that anyone but a child would orientate their lives as much around an elderly person. As for my mother in law, my husband and I intend to stay in London in the long term rather than do the usual move to the home counties partly because we foresee she may be lonely in her old age and would benefit from us living 10 minutes away and within walking distance. Would also be easier and less stressful for us than trying to organize stuff halfway down the country. That is not to say she may not eventually go to a care home if she needs 24/7 attention but I think it is much easier to care for the elderly if you live locally (my mother in law is self employed so can spend a disproportionate amount of time caring for her father overseas).

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9 minutes ago, desiringonlychild said:

Care homes are not nice places.

I think most people would prefer not to be in a care home. But if you have a lot of frequent visitors to your home (younger relatives, neighbours, slightly less elderly/more active friends) you would probably be keen to get a bit more home help rather than move into a care home. Whereas if you were completely alone, you'd probably consider care homes a bit more favourably.

36 minutes ago, desiringonlychild said:

Of course it's not a good reason to have kids in replacement of a pension plan but I do believe that the companionship of children in later life is not something money can buy. My husband's grandfather is frail but can live independently. He is however lonely as many of his friends are dead or in care homes.

I just wonder if the possible companionship of children is even a significant factor (not a reason for having children in the first place, but a significant benefit). 

Are lonely childless elderly people regretting not having children to visit them now? Or are they regretting all the experiences they missed out on? 

Yes, elderly people like being visited by children and grandchildren. But I think just having them is the most important thing to most people. 

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@Kosmin https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/mar/28/over-1-million-childless-people-over-65-are-dangerously-unsupported

The number of childless older people in the UK is expected to double by 2030, putting huge pressure on a health and social care system that is already struggling to support the vulnerable, warned Kirsty Woodard, founder of the organisation, Ageing Well Without Children (AWwoC).

 

“Read any report on inequalities on ageing and you’ll see the adverse impact of being isolated with poor support networks, loneliness, poor health and a low income,” said Woodard. “Certain groups will be highlighted as being particularly at risk, carers for example, people from the LGBT communities, people with disabilities.

“However, one group you will hardly ever see mentioned despite being overrepresented in many of the above at risk categories is people ageing without children – even though they are disproportionately represented in every one of those categories.”

According to Woodard’s analysis, individuals ageing without children have worse health, worse health behaviours and higher mortality rates than parents. Those who are not childless through choice have higher levels of depression and anxiety as they age.

 

Woodard found that people ageing without children have less access to unpaid care because that is overwhelmingly provided by children. “People ageing without children are trapped in a cycle where they are more likely to require formal care but struggle to arrange it by themselves because it’s usually children who arrange formal care for their parents,” she said.

The needs of those ageing without children get little attention, Woodard said. “Rising numbers of people ageing without children will have an impact on the health and social care system,” she said. “Their specific needs are so critical that they need a specific government policy to support them. Instead they are ignored by experts and researchers. They are put in the ‘too difficult’ box and ignored.”

Paul Goulden, chief executive of Age UK London, said the vulnerabilities of those ageing without children are a societal “blind spot”. “There’s an assumption that people have children they can rely on,” he said.

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4 hours ago, Kosmin said:

I'm surprised if that is their main reaction. If you need to be looked after, you can pay. If you go to a care home, that kills two birds (you get cared for by staff and have the chance of companionship with the other residents). So the problem isn't really who will look after you, but whether you will have relationships (especially pre-existing relationships) when you are old. I think a lot of childless people still manage this with younger relatives and sometimes not even relatives (my mother's godmother had help from my mother and another friend when living alone after her husband died). Surely the overriding reason for wanting children is that we want to have our own children?

Quite, but the bolded leads back to the question: why do we want to have our own children? And I can only resort to the reactions I get from people when their first, and quite emphatic response is "but what about when you're old?". I think you hit the nail on the head when you say the problem is more about whether we'll have relationships (per se) when we're old. I think people fear that more than anything. 

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2 hours ago, phantominvestor said:

The world is a dystopia. You need only open your eyes to all that is wrong.

Let me put it another way - the world is how it is, and it's the only world we have to live in.

You either take it for what it is and enjoy it for what is there to enjoy, or spend your whole life miserable about things you can't change.

Your call.

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6 minutes ago, scottbeard said:

Let me put it another way - the world is how it is, and it's the only world we have to live in.

You either take it for what it is and enjoy it for what is there to enjoy, or spend your whole life miserable about things you can't change.

Your call.

You can reject the things you cannot change, judge the world a meaningless and absurd dystopia, and find enjoyment in doing so. Optimistic nihilism I think it's called.

 

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1 hour ago, Orb said:

Quite, but the bolded leads back to the question: why do we want to have our own children?

Well apparently not everyone does! 

We would have become extinct if most people didn't want to have heterosexual intercourse and raise their children. So the desire to have sex and raise children must be strong in a majority of the population.

1 hour ago, Orb said:

And I can only resort to the reactions I get from people when their first, and quite emphatic response is "but what about when you're old?"

I think this is quite a different question to "who will look after you when you're old?"

People think you might regret not having had children (they assume it's an unfulfilled desire that probably worsens with time and you won't have the memories to look back upon).

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14 minutes ago, Orb said:

You can reject the things you cannot change, judge the world a meaningless and absurd dystopia, and find enjoyment in doing so. Optimistic nihilism I think it's called.

Haha well if you think the world's dystopian but are happy enough anyway then that's fine :)

I'd assumed that the posters who were bewailing the state of the world were in some way shape or form unhappy - my bad for assuming, perhaps ;)

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2 minutes ago, scottbeard said:

Haha well if you think the world's dystopian but are happy enough anyway then that's fine :)

I'd assumed that the posters who were bewailing the state of the world were in some way shape or form unhappy - my bad for assuming, perhaps ;)

I'm curious, do you think the world is dystopian to any degree, or in any way?

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53 minutes ago, scottbeard said:

Let me put it another way - the world is how it is, and it's the only world we have to live in.

You either take it for what it is and enjoy it for what is there to enjoy, or spend your whole life miserable about things you can't change.

Your call.

I am Christian and I believe in God and heaven. The earth is just a learning playground for infinite beings to experience finity. I enjoy what is buy I don't cover my eyes of what is bad - class warfare, generation rent, homelessness, poverty, rape by the rich, abandoned pets

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1 hour ago, scottbeard said:

Let me put it another way - the world is how it is, and it's the only world we have to live in.

You either take it for what it is and enjoy it for what is there to enjoy, or spend your whole life miserable about things you can't change.

Your call.

This is exactly how I live my life. 

If you were to dwell on all the horrible things that happen in the world, or that could happen to you or the people you love then you wouldn’t sleep at night or want to leave your house. 

Lockdown jokes aside, it’s the simple things in life that make it worth living and that can’t be taken away from us. Forming relationships, learning new skills, taking responsibility, accomplishing goals, travelling, enjoying food, drink, hobbies, sport etc.

Invest time and effort into the things that make you happy. Eliminate the things that just cause stress and pain. 

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13 hours ago, scottbeard said:

Let me put it another way - the world is how it is, and it's the only world we have to live in.

You either take it for what it is and enjoy it for what is there to enjoy, or spend your whole life miserable about things you can't change.

Your call.

That's just "suck it up" using different words. The sort of thing told to anyone shoved in to a bad position beyond their control in order to keep them there. Bread and circuses stuff.

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13 hours ago, Orb said:

I'm curious, do you think the world is dystopian to any degree, or in any way?

Of course - it's madness that billions of people are starving and living hand to mouth whilst some Dubai Emirati swan around from one bejewelled yacht to another.

No sane person could think that is an any sense "right".

But I didn't cause it, I can't change it, and it doesn't directly affect me so I do what humans have done for thousands of years and just get on with making the most of my own life.

26 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

That's just "suck it up" using different words. The sort of thing told to anyone shoved in to a bad position beyond their control in order to keep them there. Bread and circuses stuff.

Sigh this is becoming really difficult now.  People didn't seem to be moaning about what was happening to THEM but rather to THE WORLD AT LARGE.  I was trying to say "don't worry about what you can't change" as a way of trying to cheer people up.  Clearly if YOU YOURSELF are suffering that's of no help but that's not who I was aiming at.

But you know what, it seems me being on this thread is not helping anyone else, and instead is in danger of just making me less happy.

So everyone - OK I'm going to pretend I've changed my mind!  The world is terrible!  You should spend your whole life becoming ever more upset, miserable and depressed.  Bye.

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Apologies then, but I do find the world around me gets me very down not in some abstract, distant, academic sense but because there's a constant ongoing erosion of the things I like about it, in those bits of the world that I live in and move around in and experience as part of my day to day life, which leaves me rather quick to jump on  responses that seem like "suck it up" - that comes across as actively defending things that really, genuinely are getting me ever more upset, miserable and depressed.

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3 hours ago, btl_hater said:

A significant number of young couples seem to have replaced having children with having these weird hybrid dogs and calling them their baby.

I do think this is one of the bigger reasons for the falling birth rates. For a lot of middle class couples dogs seem to the new babies. Though I do think there are other reasons too. 

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4 hours ago, scottbeard said:

Of course - it's madness that billions of people are starving and living hand to mouth whilst some Dubai Emirati swan around from one bejewelled yacht to another.

No sane person could think that is an any sense "right".

But I didn't cause it, I can't change it, and it doesn't directly affect me so I do what humans have done for thousands of years and just get on with making the most of my own life.

One obvious driver of world poverty which springs to mind is climate change. If you've ever flown, used internal combustion engined vehicles, or eaten mass produced food, you've contributed. Similarly, as war is also a driver of world poverty, I presume you've voted, and I presume you pay tax to the government, who, happen to be the 2nd largest arms exporters in the world, and have been involved in a number of 21st century conflicts. Think of all those FTSE 100 tracker funds hiding in portfolios too. There's arms manufacturers in there. See where I'm getting at? You have indeed indirectly caused (or at least perpetuate) the situation. 99.9% of us have, me included. It would be virtually impossible not to unless we all live like Hare Krishnas. 

However, you can make changes in a myriad of ways. My way of changing it, albeit incrementally, is not to contribute to it with more children. The world needs less humans being born, and therefore less mouths to feed. For me it's a deeply ethical and considered position. I'm not living my life depressed or miserable, despite my bleak and depressing world view. I've just concluded that it won't get better the more complex and evolved it gets, especially as human systems tend to be built on awful, corruptible hierarchical models of power and influence the world over, and technology is used in more intelligent and ominous ways to keep it that way. That won't change because it's human nature. That's not being depressing, that's being reflective and conscientious. 

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