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How to explain an extended absence for caregiving?

by Mary
(West Bloomfield, MI)

I left the working world in April 2001 for what was expected to be 2 weeks. During that time, I learned that my parents were in need of full time care, Dad had Alzheimers, Mom Parkinsons.

In November, my brother was in a fight for his life in an out of state ICU. So then I had three :) Mom and Dad are gone, brother on his own with mostly phone support, and I am ready to jump back in.

Can you direct me to the page, or give me some suggestions as to how to handle this gap? I was CEO, CFO and COO as well as Caregiver, cook, bottlewasher, chauffeur, therapist, housecleaner, laundress and medical director!! Thanks so much.

Answer: Hi Mary... Sorry you've had trouble navigating to the past answers. Just today I have been rearranging and archiving some of the older questions and I'm afraid you caught links that were in process.

So, while that is waiting to be fixed, let me just go ahead and answer you here. :)

Honesty is always the best way to explain things. There is no shame in taking time off from the working world to care for those we love. It's often both necessary and admirable.

The key is to leverage that experience in a way that future employers will see as valuable. I'm a caregiver myself for an elderly mother, so I know there are many skills and experiences that can give you what are called transferable skills.

Things such as communication skills, ability to navigate the complex health care system, negotiation and advocacy skills, organizational skills, etc. You've described many of your talents above, so you know what I'm getting at.

You don't say what field you want to work in, but chances are, you'll be able to figure out how to use some of what you've learned over the past few years in any new job.

Good luck!

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