Hey, Pope Francis: Kids Aren't a Retirement Plan

Adults who have kids can still be plenty lonely, writes Keli Goff

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 9, 2014 11:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – Pope Francis recently exhorted his followers to have kids, saying that to do otherwise would lead to "old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness." Well Keli Goff at the Daily Beast has some news for the pontiff: "Children are not a surefire way to inoculate against loneliness." Adult children constantly abandon their elders to nursing homes, for one. "One director of a local nursing home said 85% of his residents had no visitors," the head of a volunteer organization called Visiting the Lonely Ones tells Goff.

Loneliness can set in before nursing home age, too—"I know of divorced people who struggled during holiday seasons" as custody arrangements kept their kids away, Goff writes. Ultimately, your happiness is your own responsibility, and there are no guarantees. "I think it is selfish to have a child only to have a caregiver later in life," one family therapist says. "I think that is quite narcissistic to do something like this." Click for Goff's full column.

Pope Francis greets children during an audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican,  May 31, 2014.
Pope Francis greets children during an audience in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican, May 31, 2014.   (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
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