5 Tips to Help Your Aging Parents Cope with a “Gray Divorce”

A “Gray Divorce” occurs when an older couple ends their marriage late in life. There could be a number of reasons for doing so, but in almost every case the fallout of the broken relationship can be devastating, and not just for the elder couple, but for everyone involved.

Adult children, for example, may find themselves in the position of providing care for both aging parents at two different households. If one parent requires additional support, moving in with an adult child may be the best option, but what about the other parent?

The financial and emotional costs can be significant, and unfortunately Gray Divorces are increasingly common. According to the National Center for Family & Marriage Research, senior citizen divorces have roughly tripled over the past twenty years, with a growing amount occurring among couples married for thirty years or more.

While perhaps struggling to cope themselves, there are many ways adult children can be of service to their aging parents, unlike younger children in a divorce. Let us share five tips to potentially make the process manageable.

1. Discuss financials. Do both parents have the financial stability to be separated? How will they afford long-term care both now and in the future? Do they have health care conditions that pose a serious problem? If they do not have the financial stability to separate, research potential solutions and develop options.

2. Talk candidly about living arrangements. It may be unclear where one or both parents will live after the divorce. Will one parent have to move out of a shared home? If they already live in a retirement home, can they afford to stay there on divided resources?

3. Give them emotional support. Divorce can be emotionally overwhelming. Listening and comforting one’s elder parents can be the ultimate gift when it comes to caring for them.

4. Help them adjust. The end of a long-term marriage can be quite a shock for everyone. Helping parents adjust can also help adult children adjust to the changes.

5. Ask for outside help. Obtaining professional guidance, from an experienced attorney can provide tremendous relief with respect to the financial, legal, and emotional challenges associated with divorce, and particularly a Gray Divorce. It can also significantly reduce stretch to know that the next steps in life can be planned for now. When it comes to later in life divorce, both estate planning and elder law planning may need to be protected to ensure that both aging parents are protected.

We know this can be difficult subject to mange. Often, the best way to address these challenges is to ensure you get the answers you need. Do not wait to learn more from us and ask your questions.