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Health risks to watch out for during gray divorce

As the divorce rate for older couples continues to rise, California residents who are considering divorce and are also over age 50 might be concerned about how to take care of themselves during and after the process. While divorce takes an emotional toll on everyone involved, older people are at higher risk for developing physical and emotional health conditions.

One of the most prominent effects of divorce is the development of depression, anxiety or chronic stress, which experts say seniors often develop after their marriages end. These conditions might also come with related PTSD-like symptoms, such as flashbacks and nightmares. Some seniors also develop insomnia, which in turn leads to forgetting simple, yet necessary things, like taking medication or paying some bills, lack of energy or daytime sleepiness. Older exes might lose their appetite and experience mood swings, hopelessness, fatigue and physical pain.

Feelings of isolation are also a danger as former familial and friendship ties might be strained or disappear after a divorce. Isolation can then lead to mental health decline and even death. For some seniors, divorce also means the loss of their primary caretaker, who probably knew their health issues and treatment best. To counteract these effects, experts recommend an active lifestyle that includes daily exercise, getting out of the home every day, widening their social circle by joining clubs or a community, getting a pet and seeking professional help when necessary.

To deal with the stressful weight of divorce, seniors might also contact legal counsel with experience in the family law area. A lawyer can explain how the divorce process works and help fill out and file the correct forms. Legal counsel could also provide additional support by representing a client in settlement negotiations and in court.

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