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Divorce Over 60: Things you may not consider and how to handle them
May 21, 2021 by Living Assistance Services - Senior Home Care
The number of seniors getting divorced is on the rise across much of the world, including Canada. Though there’s a lack in official statistics from the Government of Canada on divorces by age, law firms across the country are keeping tabs and, according to news reports, divorce among the 60+ age group has nearly doubled in the past decade.
“Silver splitters” or “diamond divorcees” as they’re affectionately referred to, are finding themselves starting over later in life and the transition is easier for some than others. This is particularly the case for couples who took on traditional spousal roles, with the wife handling all of the domestic duties, such as the cooking, cleaning, and shopping, while the husband handled all the finances and home repairs and maintenance.
Things often not considered when divorcing later in life
Charged emotions and the stress of splitting assets often take over while a couple is going through the divorce process. This leaves little time to consider the significant change to day-to-day life that you’ll be left with once the divorce dust settles.
Here are five things that many seniors are caught off guard by and not prepared for after divorce.
Even couples who say they’re happier and healthier after divorce admit to being caught off guard by loneliness and how much they miss the togetherness of having a spouse.
Along with missing having a partner, you may also grapple with changes to your social circle—something experts say accompanies every life transition.
Loneliness and isolation is an all too common issue for older adults and a life change such as divorce after 60 can contribute to that.
Redesigning your social circle takes time, but it is possible and worth it for your wellbeing as you move to this new season in your life. Staying in touch with friends and family, attending church and community events, and volunteering can help. In-home caregivers can also help fill the gap by providing companionship and assisting with tasks related to hosting friends in your home or transportation to and from social outings if you don’t drive or have mobility challenges.
Maintaining a home on your own
Whether you stay in the home you shared with your spouse or downsize to a new home, being responsible for running a household on your own can be daunting.
Often, older men who find themselves on their own struggle with cooking, cleaning, and other domestic duties that were mostly handled by their former spouse. In-home caregivers can fill the role of cook, house cleaner, and even pet care provider to make the transition after divorce easier. For older adults still busy with work or activities outside the home, home care services can be a godsend for keeping the household in order so you can focus on your other responsibilities and hobbies.
Transportation can be an issue after divorce if you’re coming from a one-car household or you don’t drive either by choice or for health reasons.
Finding yourself on your own without an easy or convenient way to get around can significantly impact your independence and ability to get to where you need to go and even to maintain your social connections.
Transportation and escorting to and from appointments and social engagements are in-home care services provided by home care agencies like ours. We can help you get around whether it’s for the long haul or while you’re getting your new life in order.
Dealing with age-related changes and/or illness
Age-related changes and illness can be especially difficult to deal with when you find yourself alone later in life. Oftentimes, spouses take on the leading caregiver role, handling everything from medication reminders, to medical appointments, and even more advanced home health care.
In these cases, hiring a caregiver is often the best solution. A professional caregiver can take over the caregiving role once held by your spouse and help take some of the stress off of family caregivers, if any. In-home care services can change as your needs change, too, including as much or as little assistance as required.
The effect on your adult children
It’s no secret that many couples stay together “for the sake of the children”. While couples who divorce later in life still consider their children’s feelings, many underestimate the effect that their divorce will have on their children. They’re grown adults with their own lives, after all!
Kids struggle with parental divorce at any age, but adult children face particular challenges, such as being in the position of having to emotionally support both parents. Then there’s also the stress of helping to care for both parents—something that’s logistically and financially more difficult after divorce.
In these cases, having an open conversation and solid care plan is a must. Consider any existing health or mobility challenges, be honest (and realistic) about your wishes and preferences when it comes to your care and any expectations as to your child’s role.
Enlisting the services of an in-home care agency can help ease the physical and emotional burden of being responsible for caring for two elderly parents now or later.
Divorce isn’t easy at any age, but with some extra planning, support from loved ones, and help from a caregiver, divorce over 60 can be a lot smoother.
Family matters: Being separated or divorced and aged 55 or older. (2019). Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2019036-eng.htm
Bein S. Grey divorce: Why are more baby boomers ending their marriages when they get older? National Post. (2018). https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/grey-divorce-why-are-more-baby-boomers-splitting-up-their-marriages-as-they-get-older