Loretta Boyd never dreamed she would leave Colorado Springs. Nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, the city regularly tops the list of best places to live in the U.S. Her mother was there, her friends were there, and Loretta had a job she loved as a reading tutor in a large school district.
“And then,” she says, “my mother took sick.”
Loretta resigned from her job and spent the next several years as her mother’s full-time caregiver. Her children, who by then were adults, helped out as much as they could when they weren’t working. But even with their support, Loretta experienced physical and mental stress, along with financial strain and sleep deprivation. “The biggest [problem] was isolation from the rest of the world,” she adds, “and no time to take care of myself.”
And yet, she says, it was worth it. “The time I spent with my mother … I wouldn’t have traded that. And after she passed away in 2013, I thought, OK, well, I’ll go back into the workforce again.”
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It turned out to be a bigger challenge than she expected.
“Lo and behold, the workforce had changed!” she says. “It was so competitive, and I just could not land a job. I fell upon really, really hard times.”
During her time as a caregiver, Loretta had to tap into her 401(k) to cover expenses. But now, still grieving the loss of her mother, she was forced to give up the home they had shared because she couldn’t afford to keep it. Without a job, she says, “I didn’t have anything else to use, so I had to do a short sale on the house.”