Its dementia awareness week and it also sees the launch of “Our Voices: the experiences of people ageing without children. Of all the many concerns people ageing without children have, what happens if they get dementia is one of the biggest, causes the most fear but also asks one of the most poignant questions; ‘Who will remember who I was when I don’t remember?’
” If I get dementia, who is going to tell the carers I don’t like sprouts and hate ‘Eastenders’? No-one is going to know, are they? And I won’t be able to tell them.’

Each of us has our life story: the person we were, the person we are, the person we
will be. Often these life stories are preserved in the people around us – family and
friends. But if we don’t have a family, and our friends are getting older and dying, who
will remain to tell our stories? For people ageing without children, the awareness that
there will be no one to do that leads to an immense feeling of loss, and lack of legacy.

Wonderful work has been done in the field of dementia by people living with
dementia and their children, with the children helping to tell the story of their
parents, and ensuring that they are seen by NHS and social care staff as people
with a life history. Dementia is a particularly strong fear for people ageing without
children. Despite the high profile campaigns around dementia, people ageing without
children have not featured in any debates or discussions. Initial conversations
with organisations working in the field suggest that most contact with people with
dementia is via carers and therefore that if someone does not have a carer, they are
hard to reach and involve. People ageing without children present a real challenge
in this area, but it is one that must be addressed.