The New Old Age: Caregivers Sometimes Must Sacrifice Their Careers

CaregiversRosie O’Beirne | Creative Commons License
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The New York Times.

Her supervisors empathized. They knew why Marcy Sherman-Lewis, a customer service agent, was missing workdays: Both her parents, who lived an hour away, had Alzheimer’s disease.

“My mother had doctors’ appointments; my father had doctors’ appointments,” said Ms. Sherman-Lewis, an only child. “I was constantly running up and down the highway.”

Once she had used up her vacation, sick days and personal days, though, her bosses balked at giving her additional time away from the job. “I knew they wanted me at the office more,” Ms. Sherman-Lewis said. “They asked, ‘What’s your plan? What are you going to do? Put them in a nursing home?’”

Her plan: She resigned in 2007 so that she and her husband, a retired engineer, could move from Overland Park, Kan., to her parents’ city, St. Joseph, Mo. “I was sure I could find work, and I did,” she said. “It worked out perfectly, at first.”

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