Similarities abound as ACODs begin to share their stories with each other. Never did I realize when I began this blog that I would find so many people with stories similar to mine.
Those who have emailed me or commented on the blog have encouraged me as much , if not more , than I hope I have done for my readers. Thank you to those who have shared their stories with me and those who have read this site. Unfortunately, we are not alone and if recent statistics are correct, our situation will be shared by many more in the future.
Below is an excerpt from the last paragraph of a paper I ran across online.
“Since 1990 the divorce rate has doubled among persons ages 50 and older. One-quarter of those who divorced in 2009 were ages 50 and older. Future research should address the predictors and consequences of divorce that occurs during middle and older adulthood. As the U.S. population ages, the number of persons ages 50 and older that experience divorce will continue to climb by one-third even if the divorce rate remains unchanged. The rise in divorce among middle-aged and older adults is not only likely to shape the health and well-being of those who experience it directly, but also to have ramifications for the well-being of family members (e.g., children and grandchildren) and intensify the demands placed on the broader institutional support systems available to middle-aged and older adults.”
National Center for Family and Marriage Research
Bowling Green State University
Working Paper Series
The Gray Divorce Revolution : Rising Divorce Among Middle-aged and
Older Adults , 1990-2009
Researched and written by Susan L. Brown and I-Fen Lin
Today my challenge is for us to think of how we can continue to heal personally, but also that we would think of ways we can tell our stories for the good of others.
Just telling someone what has happened to us can bring us a sense of shame or embarrassment, but it is good that others know late life divorce is a possibility. Many people are shocked by it (as many of our parents were) and it is good to help people of all ages, especially those married for a long time, to have a reality check. Long marriages need to be tended to and evaluated regularly. If you work in the area of counseling or conflict resolution, or spiritual guidance, will you keep the needs of older people in mind as you do your work and not forget that they may need marriage seminars or suggestions that relate to their stage in life?
Those who work in the area of our legal system as it relates to divorce, may think of how they will advise older people who come to them seeking legal help. Will you suggest a doctor's visit, just in case there is something else going on?? Will you suggest counseling before the papers are drawn up? What will you suggest for all family members?
If you work in the financial segment of our population, will you help couples be aware that divorce later in life is a possibility? Will the needs older people have be considered when helping a divorcing couple?
Those who work with medical issues in our older population would be wise to admit that many medical issues contribute to depression and anxiety . Will you suggest to your patient that unhappiness in older life may need to be addressed medically?
You get my point. Wherever we work or live our lives, we need to realize that older adults have marriage issues just like younger people , and we need to realize that maybe we can make a difference as we relate to the older adults in our lives and professions.
We need to continue this discussion even if it is difficult. We are not alone ,and our stories reflect others stories, as adult children of divorce. The discussion has been immensely helpful to the ACODs I have communicated with. Let's keep talking, praying and hoping that many late life divorces can be avoided. And the ones that occur, may we keep talking, and praying and hoping that they can be handled as best as possible , for the sake of the parents, for the adult children and grandchildren , and for everyone affected.