Our Wards and Divorce

February 6, 2009

Another aspect of divorce for the guardian is that now guardians will see more and more of their wards come from a divorced background. Divorced rates plateaued in the 1980’s and now linger just below 50 % but the entire social network is disrupted by a divorce that might have occurred 20 or 30 years earlier. Studies have shown that the relationship between children and their parents are affected by divorce. It is particularly true for fathers and their children. So once where co-residence or in-kind services from a child to an elderly, in need parent, might be the norm; in families of divorce the relationships that were frayed decades ago have a real-time impact for the guardian today. It is one of the reasons guardians will note that the care of the elderly often falls into the care of strangers because the relationships that were relied upon in the past may have been fractured by divorce.
It is important to understand the effect upon the family from a divorce, that may have happened years earlier, in understanding why the person needs help now. And when confonted by a potential divorce in the present it is important that the professional understand that the dynamics leading to the dispute may have more to do with health.

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