All divorces are an ending. For those over fifty going through a divorce, also known as a gray divorce, there are two endings. According to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau, many of those involved in gray divorces had been married for thirty, forty, or even fifty years. That’s years of shared experiences, difficult times, and even good times.
Now they face what is considered the “second half” of their lives, the end of their working years, and the beginning of the restful years, years meant to be spent together. The children are grown and gone, and the circle of friends shrinks once retirement comes. These things together may cause a deep depression.
What Are Strategies I Can Use to Cope with Post-Gray Divorce Depression?
Depression for those fifty and older is particularly serious because it not only affects the spirit, but also the body. The years have taken their toll, and what were once minor aches and pains may become more serious.
Conditions that were already diagnosed may worsen, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and weakened immune systems. Other conditions may begin to show small signs, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Because depression can cause seniors to withdraw from society completely, many of these changes can go unnoticed.
This is why seniors must be closely monitored for depression during and after a divorce. And if signs of depression begin to show, there are many ways to fight it, including:
- Medication – For some, antidepressant medication is a start. However, there are drawbacks. They may work adversely with other medications, and since they may take up to six weeks to fully take effect, some sufferers might stop taking them after a short time.
- Counseling – Another treatment option is counseling. Some seniors do well with one-on-one sessions with a licensed counselor, while others may prefer the comfort of a counselor led group session.
- Support Groups – Informal support groups are also available at places such as senior centers and churches. Another less formal option is online support groups. While some charge a nominal fee if a licensed therapist monitors the group, most are free. Participants offer advice, ranging from getting through the divorce procedures, dealing with co-parenting, finances, or just listening to each other vent. There are groups for women only, some for men only, and some are mixed. There are even groups for teens dealing with divorce. Social media, such as Facebook, also offer groups that give support in every stage of senior divorce.
- Friends – One of the best cures for loneliness is to get back out there! Reconnect with the “long ago” friends, the friends made before the children and job. Invite them to lunch or coffee and catch up on old times. Make new friends nearby, get together, and share interests. This is a way to start slowly if necessary.
- Hobbies – Hobbies are a good way to meet people and learn things you've always wanted to learn. If you enjoy crafting, such as knitting, quilting, or scrapbooking, many stores that stock those supplies offer weekly classes for those interested. Genealogy has become very popular, and local groups help each other find genealogical websites and navigate the red tape necessary to find documents. Gardeners can sell vegetables at a local farmer's market. Libraries and bookstores have lists of book clubs for avid readers. And just because you are fifty doesn't mean you can't golf, bowl, bike, or even run in charity marathons.
- Travel – Senior travel has also become a big business, extending farther than just visiting the grandkids. There are cruises to almost any destination with onboard activities and guided sightseeing tours at different stops. Although there are no cruises for seniors specifically, a little research will find cruise lines that are wheelchair and scooter accessible, while some also come with amenities to support any disability issues. Some even offer their own wheelchairs and scooters. Senior travel clubs are also great ways to travel. Because you buy in bulk, seniors are able to travel more cheaply. A leader is in charge, and everything is planned out. Whether you crave safety in numbers or are looking to make friends along the way, senior travel clubs are a great option for the over fifty crowd.
- Roommates – When you return from your travels, if you don't want to return to an empty house or apartment, shared housing may be a good option. As opposed to “cohousing,” where everyone lives in an individual house with a common outdoor space, “shared housing” is where three or more people live in one house, with individual rooms and one shared common area. This living arrangement was made popular by the 90s television show “Golden Girls.” By splitting the costs, residents are able to save money necessary for medication or in-home care, such as weekly rehabilitation sessions. It also helps keep away the loneliness that can bring about some serious medical conditions.
Gray divorce doesn't have to mean sitting at home, waiting for the kids or grandkids to call. The “second half” is still there and waiting to be explored!
Considering Divorce After 50? Speak with Our Experienced Gray Divorce Attorney About Your Situation Today
Attorney Nancy Perry Eaton has more than three decades of experience practicing law. She understands the difficulties that people can encounter before, during, and after a gray divorce. She has helped several clients deal with these difficulties and go on to enjoy the “second half” of their lives. At The Law Office of Nancy Perry Eaton, PLLC, our clients and what’s best for them are always our top priorities. We will fight for you the same way we’d fight for a loved one if they were in the same situation. We will be there for you and supportive throughout the entire divorce process, and we will work tirelessly to secure the most favorable outcome possible for your situation.
For more information about The Law Office of Nancy Perry Eaton, PLLC, read our clients’ reviews.
To learn more about gray divorce, or to discuss your situation with our experienced gray divorce lawyer in Killeen, give us a call at (254) 221-8588 or contact us online today to schedule a confidential consultation.