Silver surfers buck divorce trend
December 3, 2011
Despite the 2009 report from the Office of National Statistics which shows that the overall divorce rate in the U.K. has fallen by 11% over the last few years, the over-60s age group has been identified as bucking that trend.
Although the actual figures seem quite small, rising from 11,040 in 2007 to 11,507 in 2009, this represents a 4.2% increase in divorce for the over-60s over the two year period.
Reflecting the fact that men are often older than their wives, the number of divorced over-60s men is greater than that for women, although the wife is more often the instigator of divorce.
Described as ‘a major social revolution’ by Ros Altmann of Saga, the organisation which campaigns on behalf of the over-50s, there is some discussion over the reasons for this phenomenon, as well as concern for the consequences.
Among the reasons suggested are the increase in life expectancy, with a resultant many years together with no structure after retirement, the greater independence of women, and the fact that the over-60s are more likely to have been married than the younger generation and stayed together for the sake of their children.
For some older divorcees, a newly-single life is difficult. Many older women have always been financially dependent on their husbands while men who have relied on their wives to perform all the domestic duties find themselves unable to cope with daily life, raising the issues of social cost and social care associated with advancing age.