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Older couples should be encouraged to stay together, Tory MP claims

GPs should encourage couples to stay together, a Tory MP has claimed, saying older divorcees put pressure on the social care system.

Writing in the Telegraph, Andrew Selous, the MP for South West Bedfordshire, said:

“A friend recently told me that between them his parents had one set of eyes that worked, one set of ears and one set of legs. They lived together with minimal support. Had they split up the care costs for both of them would have been significant.”

He added:

“The number of divorces for the over 60s has increased by 30 per cent in the last decade and the number of over 75s living alone has increased by over a fifth since 1996. This says to me that local authorities and the Department of Health should recognise the very big interest they have in strengthening marriages and couple relationships in order to stop adult social care costs from increasing even more rapidly than they are expected to.”

GPs should talk to couples over the age of 50 about their relationships and refer them to counselling services, the MP said.

He told the paper:

“The point at which people retire is often hugely stressful. The whole business of family life is behind them and couples find out they don’t know how to talk to each other or have fun together.

Older people are the biggest users of the NHS, and GPs are ideally placed to provide support themselves or signpost appropriate support to couples in or near retirement who are on the verge of splitting.”

Mr Selous is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Work and Pensions Minister Iain Duncan Smith and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Strengthening Couple Relationships.

His comments were echoed by Chris Sherwood of Relate, who said:

“Being in a couple relationships helps you to stay connected, to contribute and to be active. When people live alone they decline more quickly than they would otherwise because they are not connected and contributing. If you have two people you have a more independent unit.”

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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  1. Tristan says:

    I see from the news that GPs are now charging for call outs to call homes. The M.P. for South West Bedfordshire might care to make a comment or two about that.

  2. Stitchedup says:

    Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted I’m afraid. Family destruction is costly in many many ways, but it appears a price worth paying if women are not having their dreams met.

    The sad thing is many older couples I know admit they have had very tough times in their relationship but say they are better and stronger as a couple for it.

  3. Andrew says:

    GPs should stick to their job and mind their own business. As they usually do.

    So should MPs and they generally don’t.

  4. Paul says:

    Regrettably, GPs don’t stick to their jobs looking after patients. They go on child protection courses run by the GMC and return to the practice as phony child protection experts. They then test out their newly-acquired child protection skills and experiment on parents at the practice by making bogus referrals to social services for child abuse. The result is a family spilt asunder by false accusations, often with one parent pit against the other.

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