Addressing the Stresses of Late-Life Marriage
BARRY JACOBS & JULIA MAYER
While there’s an expectation that marital happiness will increase in the last third of life, when many couples are freer of children and family responsibilities, the reality is more complicated than that. Empty-nest syndrome, decreased physical intimacy, poor adjustment to retirement, and the advent of chronic illness are all driving rates of so-called “gray divorce” to record highs. Spouses over 50 are now twice as likely to divorce than they were in 1990. For those over 65, the likelihood is three times higher. In this workshop, we’ll look at the stresses of long-term, late-life marriages, and examine couples therapy modifications for older clients. You’ll discover how to:
- Identify each spouse’s existential mission and whether it’s supported by the relationship
- Create effective frameworks for couples’ negotiations of upcoming life changes
- Facilitate the processing of loss through mindful reflection and grief rituals
- Support couples in setting new boundaries and expectations with children, grandchildren, and extended family members
Barry Jacobs, PsyD, is a Principal for Health Management Associates, a national healthcare consulting firm, and is also in private practice in Media, PA. He’s author of The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers, and coauthor with Julia Mayer, PsdD, of AARP Meditations for Caregivers.