Consequences Of Childlessness To Ageing Couples.

Parenthood has been a personal decision for each individual in the society. Some couples have found it satisfactory to be without children but others have seen it as a big challenge. The well being of childless couples in later ages of their lives will depend on their fiencial stability. The most at risks are poor couples without children. They can be supported by organizations like churches and NGOs but are les effective as compared to family support especially from their own children.

Florida Retirement study indicated that childless older adults whether rich or poor, had higher levels of social participation. They engaged a lot in community services for social interaction as compared to older adults who were parents before. This has been associated with the psychosocial satisfaction need in all older adults that range from religiosity, social interaction and the strength of social support.

Researchers show that childlessness has a negative effect on the psychological well being especially for involuntary childlessness later in life. Older widowed childless women suffer more psychological trauma than widowed older women with children. Childless women in some societies are looked down as they face forms of discrimination and desertions. This therefore affects them psychologically and socially.

Loneliness is another major consequence for childless couple. Children in a family serve as supporters in time of ill health for parents and even in old-age. They offer entertainment and simply bring smiles to parents. Children are also viewed as a sign of fertility and as source of bond in marriage. Therefore childless parents miss out on the joys that parenthood bring and end up being lonely.

Consequences Of Childlessness To Ageing Couples.

Benefits and drawbacks in families with several generations living together

Households with three or more generations living together are referred to as multigenerational households. Such forms are common in Hispanic and Asian communities. In America only four percent which is approximately 4.2 million people are in such kind of families.


There is high care and support in these families as compared to nuclear families. The older generation has full support from their descendants. Like wise, the young children are supported by the whole family as the parents go to earn a living. Generally this form of family setup ends up being a cheaper and affordable means of living because there is no cost incurred for caring for the old and young children. Housing expenses is divided among members leading to reduced high cost of housing.

The younger generation benefit from advises and guidelines from the older generation who are readily available.


In multigenerational households, social problems are likely to arise due to generation gap. For example the mother-in-law issue which may require more additional adjustment in separating living quarters.

Consequences Of Childlessness To Ageing Couples.

Setting up a multigenerational household requires high investment in financial capital. The construction of a house to accommodate all generations is expensive. This house will also require other internal plans that will consider private space, facilities fit for all generations as well as specious space for movement and access.

In maintaining such a home, effective financial planning among members is essential. The working generation needs to unite in contribution of funds. This will require set guidelines so as to avoid internal conflict.

Lastly, old generation as caregivers to young children may find it as a tiring and stressful duty both physically and mentally.


Feminism is a theory that can be used to describe economic, social and political activities which aims to establish protection for women and their rights. The author of the journal ‘A longitudinal study of the well being in widowed women’

applies this theory in her analysis. In airing her views about the widowed women, it is uncalled for to assert that even women have a story to tell. She clearly states that the widowed have been left out in the studies of social well being in the community. I total disagree with this point because if the author is the first to talk about this topic, it should be justified on the basis of knowledge development in this area and not on gender and gender inequality. She also goes ahead to claim that she is using women researchers to reveal the experience of women which according to me is biased.

The methodology that the author uses is a contradiction of chapter four. In this chapter she

Consequences Of Childlessness To Ageing Couples.

asserts that the narrations given by the women should not be studied as individual entities of a particular period of time. But the widow’s stories reveal all that any woman can undergo and be applied to all. In the later chapters, she states that that any research done in studying later life of widowhood should start with the assumption that diversity is a key tool in the study (Bennett 1997,pp 61) a Since if a homogeneous approach is taken, it does not take into considerations age and gender. Why gender? We may ask ourselves.

The author assumes that the society does don’t understand older women who are widowed. This according to her leads to discrimination and rejection. In life today this is not true. She therefore advises the widowed in having life mechanism against these forms stigmatizations like ability to make friends, high self esteem and knowledge through education.

The author also views old age as a negative stereotype yet old is gold. She views widowhood in a negative view especially in old age. On the other hand she unrealistically calls widows to rejoice for it is a transition that provides an opportunity that was not available to a woman earlier in life.


Bedel, E (2009) multigenerational living together. Retrieved from

On 27th January 2010

Consequences Of Childlessness To Ageing Couples.

Bennett, K (1997) a longitudinal study of wellbeing in widowed women. International

Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Vol 12. pp 61.

Marriage and family encyclopedia (2009) childlessness- trends, explanations,

consequences. Retrieved from

On 27th January, 2009