23 October, 2018

Ageing without Children - Kindness and Attitude

(A continuing series)

Over recent weeks, I’ve had occasion to see life in hospital and in a hospital-level care rest home for the aged, and have been impressed by the care and kindness I have seen displayed at all times, both towards the elderly, and towards their families.

I’ve also seen considerable kindness shown to elderly in-laws (who don’t have children) by their nieces and nephews, especially as this elderly couple haven’t really planned for their old age, but despite that they are getting the assistance they need.

It once again reminds me to plan for my old age, and to make decisions before I think they are necessary because when they are absolutely necessary, the decisions become overwhelming. Alternatively, I need to be confident in appointing someone who can make decisions on my behalf, because however much I might plan, at some stage, I may no longer be capable of making decisions.

Yes, I worry occasionally about what it will be like when I am old and vulnerable, and I think that is only natural, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

The difference is that I have no expectations that I can rely on children or nieces and nephews, and I hope that that will make a difference, both in terms of forethought, and in terms of my emotional state. I hope I don’t complain about my fate if I end up in a rest home, but rather will be appreciative that I am somewhere safe, surrounded by potential friends and kind people.

In fact, the one thing I am certain of is that I want to have a positive attitude towards the options for the end of my life, because the alternative – negativity and regret, the fighting against what is practical or even possible – is not a happy way to live.


  1. dear Mali, I love reading your thoughts on ageing without children.... my thoughts are the same.
    And I am looking forward to the continuing posts.
    kind regards,

  2. I'm continuing to abide with you as you grieve and heal regarding your MIL.

    Oh, these are necessary but not-pleasant thoughts to have and plans to make. I suppose I'd better break through my mental blocks about it.

    I, too, would like to be able to see the glass half full about being safe and cared for. Your words are well stated.

  3. I'm so sorry I haven't been commenting. Feedly hasn't been allowing me (sigh).

    It always amazes me how people put off having conversations about aging and end-of-life, mainly because I've seen so many examples of what happens when this isn't addressed and decisions are made that clearly aren't in favor of the person who is ailing. I have so many memories as a child of children of an ailing patient completely losing it with my dad (who's a physician) and/or the other family members because the decisions in care left them feeling out of control and they weren't ready to say good-bye. Even now, I hear about this happening with both my grandmothers and a lot of it could have been alleviated with expressed written wishes and a designating a power of attorney.

    I'm thinking of you as you navigate all of this with your MIL and are thinking about it for yourself. It is overwhelming and scary, but I promise that this hard work is worthwhile.

  4. I love how you have phrased everything. So many people are scared of planning for end-of-life, because they feel it is morbid, or they don't want to think about the end, but that doesn't make it less stressful (or less inevitable). I think you are wise to approach it how you are, and to look at all the options and find the positive in each of them. You are reminding me that we need to get started on some of these things! I continue to be sorry for your loss, and I am glad that although it is sad and bringing up so many thoughts of your own aging process, that it is inspiring this series and discussions that are difficult, but so, so necessary.