Elderly divorce creates challenge for caregivers

Until the 1960s, divorce remained relatively rare in North America, but today, nearly half of all marriages in eventually end in separation or divorce, and a consequence of this phenomenon has been a shifting family dynamic, with more Baby Boomers caring for aging parents who may be divorced and living separately.

As reported by the New York Times, in 1960, only four percent of people aged 60 or older were separated or divorced, but by 2000, that number had more than doubled, to nearly 10 percent.

For Baby Boomers, that can mean one adult child caring for two aging – and potentially ailing – parents, in two different locations, possibly an assisted living community, or different cities or states.

“It adds another layer of complexity to an already complex and emotional situation,” Suzanne Mintz, president of the National Family Caregivers Association, told the newspaper.

According to the New York Times, the increased divorce rate is a result of multiple factors, including the women’s liberation movement, which meant women were less inclined to stay in unhappy marriages, as well as relaxed cultural and societal attitudes to divorce and re-marriage, as well as liberalized divorce laws in many parts of the United States.

What do you think? If your older parents were divorced, and you had to care for both of them separately, how do you think you would manage?