What Will Happen to Women Who Are Aging Without Children?

Author Ruby Warrington plans to rely on chosen family, but studies indicate that has limitations

Vicki Larson
6 min readMay 17


Oscar Williams/Pexels

Journalist and author Ruby Warrington is one of the thousands of women who isn’t interested in having children. And so she’s written a book for people like her, “Women Without Kids: The Revolutionary Rise of an Unsung Sisterhood,” although she includes women who may be childless by circumstance, not choice.

In an interview with The New York Times, Warrington, who is in her 40s, was asked the question all childfree women are asked— do you worry about aging without children to care for you?

(Not sure if childfree men get asked the same but I somehow doubt it.)

She admits that this was her top concern when she was questioning whether not having children was the right thing to do. But she’s come to a peace about it:

“I have my own retirement savings account. I’m preparing to be active in my career for as long as I’m physically able to be. The notion that older women in particular will need people to care for us, which ultimately means pay for us when we’re old, I think we’re overturning that. And then I hear a lot of conversation among myself and my friends without kids about how we can build in support networks to care for each other. I’ve had so many conversations with people about, ‘Where will we live?’ We have, our whole lives, relied on our found family connections for our sense of belonging and support. Now we will just continue to invest in these found family networks.”

She isn’t the only one who wonders about the caregiving often required as we age — society at large is also very concerned about what has distressingly been called “elder orphans.” And while I would like to believe that women like Warrington are “overturning” the need for others to pay for our care at some point, that’s not exactly true.

Figuring out what kind of caregiving we may need and want and who will do it is something all of us need to think about and plan for, especially women, who tend to live longer than men. According to the Institute on Aging, 19 percent of women between 65 and 74 years old need help with at least one self-care…



Vicki Larson

Award-winning journalist, author of “Not Too Old For That" & "LATitude: How to Make a Live Apart Together Relationship Work (2024) coauthor of “The New I Do,”