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This was the final event in the Population Patterns Seminar Series which explored the “silver separators”- divorce later in life.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics published in 2012 showed a huge rise in the divorce rate amongst those in their 60s, with an increase of 58% on the 2011 figure. The last 10 years have seen more and more older people part ways, despite divorce amongst the general population becoming less common. This has happened to such an extent that the over 60’s are now the fastest growing divorce group in the UK.
A variety of reasons have been suggested, including a reduction in the stigma surrounding divorce and couples no longer feeling obliged to stay together if their attitudes and needs change.
However, figures released by the ONS in June 2012 revealed that marriages involving older people were also rising faster than for other age groups – up by 21% for women and by 25% for men in their late sixties. Re-partnership is likely to be even higher than these figures suggest, as older people in a new relationship may not choose to remarry.
During the event the discussion explored a number of themes, including:
What factors have contributed to the rising rate of divorce amongst the over 60s?
How can older people’s relationships be better supported?
What challenges does ageing present to relationships?
How do care responsibilities effect relationships?
What are the potential ramifications of older couples separating?