When Caring Changes or Ends
As a Carer, you might choose to actively stop providing someone with care. This could be to hand the responsibilities onto another friend or family member, to seek professional help if it gets too much, to focus on career, education or other family commitments or due to your own health. Or the needs of your loved-one may change and they may need additional support or they may reach the end of their life. We explore some of these situations below:
Someone may move into residential care if they can no longer live independently, because you are no longer able to offer the level of support required, or for another reason. Whatever the situation, Carers UK provides some useful information, including how to decide if residential care is the right next step.
End of Life Planning
When someone is nearing the end of life they may want to consider and plan how they will be looked after at this time. This may include advance care planning or thinking about moving into a hospice and you can find out more detail about these at Carers UK.
An advance care plan (sometimes called a statement of wishes) is a way of recording the wishes of an individual when it comes to their future care. An Advance Statement and/or Advance Decision is a clear record of the specific medical treatment and interventions they do or do not want to receive. If the person you care for doesn’t have either of these in place, the decision about the treatment they receive will be made by medical and/or social care staff ‘in the best interests’ of the person. Family and carers should be involved in this process.
Hospice – A hospice can offer a wide range of supportive care that focuses not just on medical needs but on emotional wellbeing and support as well, both for the person being looked after, and for family members and carers.
Everybody experiences bereavement differently and it is important to give yourself time and space to grieve in the way that feels right to you. For some this might mean time alone, for others, less so. It may feel like you are alone in your grief, but the support is out there. As well as from friends or family, you can also talk to your GP, local support groups, or you might want to consider bereavement counselling too.
Carers UK explore some of the prospects and reality of life after caring, including a helpful video and guide for the friends, family and carers of someone who has died or is currently in the last stages of life.
When someone dies, there are also lots of practical considerations, Carers UK provides lots of information on navigating how to register a death, funeral consideration, Wills, Benefits and housing. You can find out more here.
Additional sources of support:
Admiral Nurses provide support for someone living with dementia and their family/ unpaid Carers – they are a great source of knowledge and support, helping the whole family to adjust as the illness progress. You can find more information here – Admiral Nurses – Dementia UK
Macmillan Nurses support those living with cancer and their families/ unpaid Carers. You can find more information here – Looking after someone with cancer – Macmillan Cancer Support
Caring for yourself:
Whatever the reason for your caring role to come to an end, it is a time of great change for all involved. Even if caring ceases due to a happy reason, it can still be quite a shock and might take some getting used to. Suddenly you have gained a lot of time, choice, and freedom where previously there may have been none. This can be incredibly overwhelming for many, and can take a time to adjust, so don’t be afraid to ask for support through this time.