Gray Divorce: Tips on Navigating Divorce During Retirement

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 

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Traditionally, most life changes in retirement have revolved around leaving the workforce, but increasingly many retirees are leaving their marriages, as well. In fact, the divorce rate for adults over 50 has nearly doubled since the 1990s, according to a Pew Research Center report. While these “gray divorces” are more common among those who’ve been married less than 10 years or those who are remarried, 34% are among those who’ve been in their marriage for at least 30 years. Regardless of the length of the marriage, the emotional shock of divorce can lead to isolation, depression, and even consequences to physical health. Here are some tips on how to cope and move forward after divorce during retirement.

Coping with Divorce During Retirement

Whether you or your spouse initiated the split, divorce is never easy. There are ways to make it easier to cope, including:

  • Finding a support system – Ask your doctor or spiritual leader for a referral to a divorce support group, whether in-person or online. Also, lean on friends and family as well. If you become too overwhelmed with divorce during retirement, consider counseling to help you make a healthy transition.
  • Maintaining your routine – Although your daily routine may be the last thing on your mind, it’s vital to continue to eat well, exercise, get enough sleep, and continue to engage in life. And be sure to keep up with preventative health measures, including regular checkups.
  • Practicing self-care – Beyond your daily routine, you should also look for ways to destress and relax. Yes, it’s possible! You just have to be intentional about it. Consider meditating, reading, journaling, spending time in nature, taking long baths or other healthy options to help you decompress, and do so daily.
  • Learning to let go – Once you’ve taken time to process and mourn the loss of your marriage, you can begin to let go. We know that’s easier said than done, but one way to do that is to start actively moving forward by finding yourself again. Invest more time in hobbies that you love, try things you’ve always wanted to do, and/or reconnect with friends and family with whom you’ve lost touch.
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Moving Forward after a Gray Divorce

When you’re ready, another way to move forward after a gray divorce is to get back to the dating scene. Certainly, it’s much different than it was when you were in your 20s, but don’t fear, these tips can help:

  • Try a dating appPew Research Center also reports that 19% of seniors aged 50-64 have used a dating app, and 13% aged 65 and older have as well. You’ve likely heard of match.com and eHarmony, but there are others designed specifically for adults 50 and older, including OurTime and SilverSingles.
  • Ask your friends – Why not tell your friends and family when you’re ready to date again? They know you better than anyone and may know someone who’s also single that you have things in common with. Whether you are simply introduced to each other or officially go on a blind date, this may be a more comfortable way to get back out there.
  • Active adult retirement communities – Single seniors actually move into active adult retirement communities at an estimated rate of 90% compared to couples. With benefits like a carefree lifestyle, scheduled activities, and a range of ways to socialize including meals together, there are ample opportunities to meet new people!

Check out our Active Adult Decision Guide to learn more. Or, contact us today to schedule your virtual tour!

 

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