Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old? September 10, 2010

“Who’s going to take care of you when you’re old?”

This is one of those arguments that’s easy to shut down if anyone suggests it as a reason for having children. One peek in your local nursing home, or frankly, on the streets of any major city, will give you all the evidence you need that having children is no guarantee that you’ll be taken care of in your old age. But with all possibility removed, do you have plans for your later years?

I think about this from time-to-time, but I don’t yet have a good solution. My husband is 15 years my senior and so in theory I should outlive him. My family—brothers, nieces and nephews—is on another continent. I have good friends, including a circle of women who are also childless, and some of us have talked about taking care of one another as we age. But I wonder what will actually happen to me

A recent obituary stated that so-and-so (I can’t now remember who it was) had passed away at 93 years old, surrounded by close friends. My husband, being cynical, pointed out that she was wealthy and famous, and therefore drew plenty of close friends hoping for their share of her inheritance. Trying to out-cynic him, I pointed out that that’s usually what happens but with distant relatives coming out of the woodwork for their share of the financial pie. But the point is, that that is how I want to go, surrounded by people who choose to be with me.

So, plan A for my future is to be nice, take care of my friends, and hope that they will take care of me. Plan B is to become rich and famous and buy my friends. Either way, I hope to not grow old alone.

Have you given any thought to what will become of you in your old age? Or do you have a plan all laid out?  I’d be interested to hear.