Dr Karen Phillip, one of Australia’s leading lifestyle doctors, notes that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the divorce rate for those over 60 years old has escalated considerably over the last decade. Dr Phillip says, “I am seeing the escalation in my counselling rooms from people even in their mid-fifties. This often occurs because the last child leaves home, or is barely ever home, leaving the couple isolated with only each other’s company. Far too often couples lose their ‘coupleness’ during their marriage because of work, kids, and the pressures of life. Perhaps there have been years of disharmony, or the couple may have just lost touch and feel more like strangers than partners. It is during this time that many decide to spend their sunset years of life in a new, and they believe, more exciting environment.”
Dr Phillip believes that the men continue moving along in their careers while the women work part-time or don’t take up opportunities due to the ongoing pressure of caring for the family and children. This is selfless for women but feasible during the marriage, especially while the children remain busy at school and with after school activities. Women also want to make sure their working husbands are happy, comfortable and cared for.
So when the relationship breaks down and there is a separation, the woman struggles financially, while the man continues along much the same path as before. There is a struggle to survive often a need to plead for Centrelink support, and for the first time in years having to manage alone. Women in this age group are often less trained or out of touch with full time work, and are not in a position to buy out the husband’s interest in their family home.
Dr Phillip suggests to clients that they take in a roommate to help out with the many jobs they are unable to manage and to have some company in their home.
Read more here