After 47 years of marriage, retired schoolteacher Jane Austin became a widow at 69, around the time her older brother warned her about single men looking for a nurse “or an insurance settlement.” But Austin had plans to travel and take on a new job—plans that wouldn’t necessarily include a new spouse. A growing number of older widows aren’t interested in remarriage, studies show; while they grieve for their spouse, most accept or even enjoy their new singlehood, staying in touch with family and friends, organizing social gatherings and spending more time in the community. It’s bad news for widowers who think the love-starved “casserole brigade” will be lining up for them. In fact, it’s men over 65 who often struggle. Younger men have advantages like financial security, health and less frequent complaints of depression, but older men (especially those who are divorced or widowed) have fewer friends and less contact with the community. As such, they don’t eat as well as older women, are less likely to seek medical advice, and are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
Widows choose friends over remarriage
“Casserole brigade” increasingly a myth
FILED UNDER: society