Looking after someone may be a large part of your life, but it is inevitable that your caring role will change over time. This may be because the person you cared for no longer needs your support and can manage without a lot of help from you, or because they can no longer be cared for at home, or because they have passed away.
If the person you care for has moved into a care home it doesn’t necessarily mean that your caring role has ended. Find out more on the Carer’s Trust website about caring for someone who is in a care home.
If you are experiencing significant change in your life as a carer, here are some resources to start with that may help you through your situation. Remember we are here to support you, and we are only a phone call away.
Reassessing your needs as a carer
If you are unable to provide all of the support that the person you care for needs, you might feel like you are letting them down, but it is important to remember that you can only do so much. Caring can be physically and emotionally exhausting, and there are limits to the level of care that can be provided at home.
Speak to your social worker to arrange a review your Carer’s Assessment – we can help you organise this – and make sure they have an accurate picture of your support needs. You may be able to get more help at home, like increased support, equipment or adaptations. Find out about all the options that are available to you, and discuss them with the person you care for, and with friends or relatives.
Losing someone close to you is devastating; if you have been caring for that person, the loss can seem even greater. How you cope with the death of the person you cared for is a very personal thing, and there is no right or wrong way to feel. There are no time limits on grief, and no set pattern of emotions and behaviours that everybody follows. Grief does not always happen straight away either. Initially there are a lot of practical things to do, and family and friends tend to be around a lot more. It may be that you really start to grieve once the practicalities are dealt with and the people around you have gone back to their everyday lives.
Here are resources from the Carer’s Trust website around the practical aspects of dealing with someone passing away, as well as a checklist of things to think about:
- What to do after someone dies
- Registering a death
- How benefits are affected when someone dies
- Arranging a funeral
- Coping with grief
As well as coping with the loss of the person you cared for, you also have to deal with the loss of your caring role. You may feel guilty about feeling relief, but you may also be feeling exhausted and alone. The relationships you built up with the professionals involved in their care have come to an end. You might have lost contact with friends and family because of the demands of your caring role, and picking up old social contacts or meeting new people may be the last thing you feel like doing when you have just lost someone.
You might be able to talk to friends and relatives who know you well and have known the person that you have been caring for, and they can be a great source of support. You can also access counselling sessions through Cruse Bereavement and through us – just get in touch and we will arrange an exploratory session for you.
Adjusting to new circumstances
It will take time to adjust to the end of your caring role. You are used to always having things to do to look after someone else, so it can be hard to stop and think about what you would like to do for yourself now. At this time it is really important to look after yourself, and allow other people to look after you too. There is no need to rush into making any decisions about your next steps.
Eventually you might want to get involved in volunteering, learn new skills, or go back into paid employment. When you are ready, contact us for support on the journey.