Caregiving: Couples, Coping

Dealing with sick or aging parents can strain any marriage. It's important to take care as you give it

For most of the past two years, Jeff Roberts, 53, spent virtually every weekend away from his wife Doris, also 53. Not for sales trips, not for hunting with the boys and certainly not for anything illicit. Jeff has been caring for his 86-year-old parents at their nearby home in southeastern Ohio. After his mother had a stroke in 1999, the family hired a five-day-a-week live-in caretaker for her and her husband, a dialysis patient who had lost one leg. (He died last June.) When the care worker took off on Friday nights, Jeff stepped in.

This routine was burdensome in...

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