In some cases, life can instantly change, giving you an entirely new path to travel down. Such is the case when parents who have been married 30, 40, 50 years or more suddenly announce they are getting divorced.
Divorce is hard enough at any age. Yet if your parents’ health was on the decine anyway, and they suddenly separate for various reasons, it can literally send them – and you – into a tailspin. And because neither of them may be comfortable with the new essences of their daily lives, they may turn to the only constant they have – you, their children.
Aging adults that are suddenly single become much more dependent on their children than ever before. The demands from single, senior parents can be emotional, financial or both.
Aging is not an easy process, especially when it has to be done alone. If your mother or father is suddenly alone and faces the harsh reality of medical problems – general aches and pains and difficulty getting around – you could find yourself being needed much more than before. If your parents are divorced and need emotional support, the following tips may help:
- Have a family meeting to discuss your parent and their needs
- Make a rotating schedule of visitors to provide emotional support
- Stay in contact with your parent to determine their safety
- Find medical help and assistance, such as medical vans or support groups for your parent to help them when you cannot be there
Parents never want to turn to their kids for financial assistance, but single seniors sometimes have no choice. Seniors that are alone are more likely to suffer various disabilities, including emotional and physical disabilities. In addition, a single senior is less likely to have health insurance and a healthy bank account to fall back on. This means that the financial demands put upon them could be very serious, causing financial strain. If your parent is under financial strain, the following tips may help:
- Meet with other members of the family without your parent to discuss the situation
- Talk with your parent regarding the financial strain and what kind of help they need
- Set financial goals with your parent and help him or her stick to them
- Assist your parent with banking and paying bills to ensure their financial security
Dealing with a divorced, aging parent is never an easy process, but it can be done with a little time and patience. Staying organized and staying in contact with your parent will help you both to feel secure and safe in their new life living alone.