The population of Britain is ageing as a result of increased life expectancy, the falling death rate and infant mortality rate.
There are increasing numbers of people aged 65 and over and decreasing numbers of children under 16.
Today, there are fewer young people – only 12% of the population is aged less than 10 years compared with 27% in 1821, whilst the numbers of those aged over 80 years have increased from 1% in 1821 to 4% in 2004.
Effects of Ageing Population on Family Life
Increase in elderly single person households: in 2005, 14% of all households included just one person aged over state pension age. Women aged 65 and over are more likely to live alone than men because of their superior life expectancy and because they tend to marry men older than themselves.
Kinship diversity – many elderly people have regular contact with their family members; many use new technology such as email to stay in contact with family members. Ross et al found that grandparents spoke positively about becoming and being grandparents. When grandchildren were younger, time was spent together on outings and playing together, or with the grandparents teaching skills and providing childcare. As grandchildren grew older, the relationships were more likely to revolve around talking, giving advice and support.
Extra work for women, taking on the role of carer for the elderly.
Increased stress and ill health, carers themselves may be elderly.