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Health Risks for Seniors Who Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Health Risks for Seniors Who DivorceDivorce can negatively affect the lifestyle of people of any age, but the health consequences are direr for senior citizens. Gray divorce, which is divorce that occurs between spouses age 50 and older, has greatly increased in recent decades, despite other age groups showing modest growth or decline. People’s health natural becomes more fragile as they grow older, and the emotional impact of divorce can worsen their health.

Stress and Depression

Divorcing after a long marriage is stressful and traumatic, even if you know that the divorce is in your best interest. You feel uncertain about your future without your spouse as your companion, and the financial agreement may have unsettled your careful retirement plans. Bad experiences from your marriage may also haunt your thoughts, causing symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder. Prolonged feelings of stress and trauma often cause a deep depression, and it can be difficult to escape the cycle of depression if you are retired and living alone.

Physical Symptoms

Stress and depression can strain your body because of the way your body responds to these emotions. Stress causes your body to release adrenal hormones, which can be harmful if your body does it continuously. Senior citizens are less capable of handling the strain of stress hormones. As a result, stress and depression can increase the risk of:

  • Heart disease;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • Insomnia; and
  • Weakened immune systems.

Psychological Behavior

Stress and depression can cause you to make poor lifestyle decisions that negatively affect your health. It is common for people to react to the stress of divorce by:

  • Becoming more sedentary;
  • Bingeing on alcohol, drugs, or unhealthy food;
  • Partaking in risky behavior; or
  • Isolating themselves.

Exercise and a healthy diet are important for seniors to maintain their physical health. A lack of social interaction can deteriorate their mental health. Seniors who are depressed are less likely to follow doctor instructions or to remember to take their medications.

Better Health

Gray divorce does not guarantee poor health and a shorter life. Some seniors have an opposite reaction to their divorce since they:

  • Are happy to be out of the marriage;
  • Feel free to pursue new interests;
  • Find fulfillment in other relationships; or
  • Are motivated to change and improve themselves.

Your divorce settlement can help you feel more secure. A McHenry County divorce attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, knows which issues are most important to people going through a gray divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.



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