Life after caring

Over time your caring role will change and may come to an end.  The person you cared for may no longer need your support, or perhaps they are now looked after by someone else. However, caring often ends when the person you care for dies. Whatever the circumstances this can leave a big gap in your life and brings very mixed emotions. There will be practical matters to deal with and adjustment to changes as you ‘rebuild’ your life.

Practical issues
Emotional impact
Your finances when caring ends
Life after caring

Practical issues

After someone dies, help and advice should be offered to you from the point of registering the death. Guidance given to you by the Registry Office will take you through the steps of organising the funeral and informing people and organisations that need to know.

Tell us once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go, including the Department of Work and Pensions, the DVLA, the tax office and your local council. 

If you live in South Gloucestershire you can use a service provided by the council in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions.

If you live in Bristol you can find local information about registering a death on Bristol City councils website.

The Citizens Advice Bureau has lots of information about death and how to cope with all the practicalities.

Emotional impact

Whatever the reason for your caring role coming to an end, you may go through a grieving process as you miss the person and that intense relationship you had in caring for them. It is normal to feel bereft and to feel anxious about the future.

Following bereavement, the loss of a loved one is one of the hardest things that anyone has to cope with. There are many practical things to deal with as well as your grief and the different emotions you may feel around your loss.

Talking to someone about how you feel may help.

Carers UK website has a section on ‘life after caring’.

Your finances when caring ends

It’s important that you let the DWP know of any change in circumstances to avoid a possible over payment of benefit.  If someone’s pension or welfare benefits are paid after they are no longer eligible, the Department of Work and Pensions will ask for it back.

  • If the person goes into residential care, they will usually stop getting their disability benefit after 28 days. When their disability benefit ends, carer’s allowance will also stop. Some people may continue to get their disability benefit, and if they return home every week and you are still providing 35 hours of care over that period, you could still get carers allowance.
  • If you are receiving any carer premium or addition on your means tested benefits, this will usually  continue for an extra eight weeks after your carers allowance stops.
  •  If the person you cared for has died, you will continue to get carers 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.
  • If you are of working age and your spouse or civil partner dies, you may be able to claim bereavement support payment. Find out more on the Citizens Advice Website. 

When carers allowance stops, if you are of working age and wish to claim other benefits you may be expected to look for work by the Department of Work and Pensions. If you cannot find employment straight away, you could apply for jobseekers allowance or universal credit. If you are not well enough to work, you could be eligible for employment and support allowance.

If you are over state pension age, consider getting a benefit check done to see what you could be eligible for.

Life after caring

If you have been caring for a long time, you may feel a loss of purpose and a sense of not knowing what to do with yourself. It is important to take some time for yourself before embarking on a new endeavour. Do something you enjoy; get some rest; catch up with family and friends.

If you are feeling isolated after many years of caring, there is support for you from others in a similar situation. In Bristol and South Gloucestershire, former carers groups meet monthly to share experiences and develop new friendships.

Carers UK gives some good advice on ways of coping with the changes when you are no longer caring.

Carers Support Centre can continue to support carers for up to a year after they have been bereaved during which time you can continue to receive our Carers News and make use of our services where appropriate.

Some carers need to think about about returning to work which can be a daunting prospect.  Carers Support Centre has a team that can support you to feel more confident and better prepared to access training, volunteering and employment opportunities.

Carers Support Centre also has its own volunteering opportunities. We offer a supportive and friendly environment for our volunteers who  receive full training and support. Your  experience of caring will be valued and we have an understanding of  what you may be feeling. 

In time you may want to become involved in our community activity events which are organised by our friends group. This enables us to raise funds for Carers Support Centre so we can support more carers. However much or little time you have, and whatever skills, we would love to hear from you.