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11 February 2011

Ex-wife caregivers face unique experiences

A new study provides insight into the experiences of exes who care for their former spouses, offering support, assistance with daily tasks and management of health needs.

The aging population, 65 years and older, includes nearly 3.8 million divorced men and women, according to the US Census Bureau. Illnesses and end-of-life issues can be particularly difficult for singles without spouses or designated caregivers. A new study from the University of Missouri provides insight into the experiences of exes who care for their former spouses, offering support, assistance with daily tasks and management of health needs.

"Compared to traditional caregiving, there are unique issues involved with providing care for former spouses," Proulx said. "A surprising number of the women reported continued involvement with their ex-husbands post-divorce. A strong motivator for women to become caregivers is related to their desire to maintain relationships, not with ex-husbands, but typically with their children. It appears that having shared children with an ex might facilitate emotional attachment. Women also might try to shield their children from the demands of caregiving."

 
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