Our Carers In Touch expert Rosie Sandall offers her advice for coping after caring ends.
Carers often devote all of their time to looking after a loved one – often without a thought for their own needs. Caring can be all consuming, 24 hours a day and carers often never get a break. So when caring ends because of a change of circumstances, the carer is certain to face a difficult time.
Caring can come to an end because someone recovers and no longer needs care, because they need residential care or because they die. When caring ends, carers often feel guilty that they now have all the time they want to do whatever they want but they often don’t have the energy to move forward.
It takes time to adjust to the new situation and carers often report that exhaustion – both mental and physical - finally catches up on them when their caring role come to an end.
It is common for people to feel unwell and very tired for a while after caring ends. It is important that former carers start to look after themselves and give themselves time to adjust to their new situation. Take your time and slowly re-build a different way of life.
Top tips when caring ends:
- Don’t rush into anything – particularly not moving house. Give yourself at least 12 months to begin to recover before making any big decisions.
- Don’t feel guilty about having time to yourself. You deserve some “me time.”
- Consider taking up some new hobbies – University of the Third Age (U3A) has branches nationwide and is an excellent way to make new friends.
- Think about becoming an ambassador for Carers UK- 0808 808 7777. Former carers have a wealth of experience to share.
- Become a volunteer for a local charity. There is a variety of work available. It’s a great way to make new friends. Ask at your local library or Age UK centre.
- Try not to have regrets. Remember that you did your best as a carer.
- For more advice, pick up the latest copy of Yours magazine