There may come a time when your caring role reduces or ends. The person that you care for may recover sufficiently to become more independent, they may move into long term care, other people may take over some or all of the caring role, or your partner, family member or friend may pass away. After caring for someone for a long time it can be daunting to readjust to your new life, and it can be difficult to come to terms with the inevitable changes that this situation brings. Carers Link is still there for you, and you can use all of the support we offer.
Taking care of your loved one may have been your focus and it can often be a shock not to have those responsibilities any more. There will be many activities that have been a part of your daily routine that you don’t need to do anymore.
You may experience feelings of guilt, grief, lack of purpose, emptiness or loneliness, as well as relief at getting your life back. You may also be worried about finances, and about the future, and this might be the first time that you have lived alone. Some people find that physical and emotional exhaustion catches up with them and they might feel unwell for a while.
If the person has recovered, moved into a care home or other people have taken over the caring role, many of the physical aspects of your care role will have changed, but you are still caring for them emotionally, and may still be doing some physical tasks such as laundry, shopping etc. You are still a carer, but your role has changed, and you may feel a lack of control.
Coping with bereavement
Grief is a natural process, and there is no one way that it affects everyone. Carers Link will continue to support you while you need it, and you are welcome to attend our events and groups. In fact they can be a good way to meet and share experiences with other people who have been bereaved.
For some people grief can be devastating, and does not diminish with time. For those who need help dealing with their loss, Cruse offers free confidential support for adults and children.
Your finances when caring ends
If the person goes into a care home, they will stop getting disability benefits after 28 days, and you will stop getting Carer’s Allowance. If you are receiving any Carer Premium on your other benefits, this will continue for an extra eight weeks after your Carer’s Allowance stops.
If the person you cared for has died, you will continue to get Carer’s Allowance for up to eight weeks after their death. It might be a good time to have a benefits check as your entitlement to other benefits may change.
Carers Link can refer you to the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, who can help you make sure that you are receiving all the benefits that you are entitled to, and that you are receiving the relevant discounts (e.g. council tax). If you would like us to do this you can call 0800 975 2131 or complete the online enquiry form.
How can Carers Link help?
The time will come when you are ready to think about what you want to do next. Having more time to yourself may give you the opportunity for a much needed rest, but it can also leave you feeling that you have a lot of time to fill.
- You may feel that a short break would help you rest and regroup, and if so you may be able to apply for a grant to help you to pay for this. Our advocacy and support team can help you investigate this.
- You may want to return to interests and activities that you had to put to one side while you were caring, or you may want to get involved in something new or learn something new. You can find out about our groups and learning opportunities in our What’s On newsletter.
- You may want or need to return to work, and you may feel that you have lost the skills you once had. You may have lost your confidence and need support to return to the workplace. Our advocacy and support team can help you find out about organisations which can help you do this.
- You may want to use your experiences to help other carers, and many of Carers Link’s volunteers and board members are either current or former carers. Or you may want to volunteer with other organisations that support causes that are important to you. If you want to find out more about this, complete our online form.
- You may want to become involved in our Carers Forum. Carers Link is often ask to comment and feed into the local planning and development of services for carers, and the Carers Forum helps us to gather the views of local carers. If you want to find out more about this, complete our online form.