Aging Parents Remarrying
It is not uncommon for seniors to remarry after losing a spouse. In fact, over 50% of adults 55+ that lose a husband or wife will end up getting married again.
How can remarriage impact the family unit?
A remarriage can have all kinds of unexpected implications for the existing family, and newly combined families as a whole. A new marriage can disrupt any wills, POAs, or estate plans that have already been established. That is why it is important for paperwork to be updated on both sides, to avoid any disagreements over property and assets.
Financials aside, a remarriage of aging parents can have other effects.
It can result in:
- Child resentment
- Altered family traditions
- Necessary lifestyle adjustments
Seeing an aging parent remarry can be a difficult thing for a child to accept. Especially if their parents enjoyed a long and happy marriage before the death of a spouse or a divorce.
For instance, say one spouse dies after 40 years of marriage. Then, the parent that is still alive meets someone new and decides to get remarried. This can be tough for a child of the original marriage to come to terms with. They may feel like it is an attempt to replace the lost parent when there is no need for it.
However, consider it from the elderly parent’s point of view. They may feel like this is their last chance at happiness.
Altered Family Traditions
The remarriage of aging parents will result in additional family members, and most likely, a change in some family traditions. Family holidays may have to be altered to include the interests and family members from both sides. This could mean some substantial adjustments and compromise from everyone involved.
For seniors that have lost a spouse or divorced at a late age, they may have undergone considerable lifestyle changes in the period following. The modifications required for going from married to single can be strenuous and even unmanageable at first for older adults. It may involve reworking entire routines and will likely require some assistance and understanding from family members.
The same is true for the remarriage of an elderly couple. Compromise will be required from both husband and wife to be sure, but compassion and empathy from family members will also be fundamental.
Successfully making it Work
Effort will be imperative from everyone involved, but with a little selflessness and cooperation it can all work out. Some recommended steps include -
Open to Change - Keeping an open mind is the best approach you can possibly take in these situations. Everyone will have different hopes and expectations, it is important to consider all of them.
Give it Time - The new couple will need some time and space to get things organized. It is a good idea to give them privacy and offer help if they need.
Make an Effort - Attempting to get to know new family members is an ideal way to open the situation up and discuss all wishes and concerns.
Address the Details - Financials and inheritance will need to be discussed at some point to avoid future disaster. Taking care of this in a calm, organized manner will yield the best results.