Often at Carers Leeds we meet people who have been looking after someone for a large part of their lives. Your caring role may change over time, and sometimes it may come to an end for different reasons.

One reason may be if the person you care for has moved into a care setting such as a residential or nursing home. Your caring role may change but in many cases you may still be very involved in caring. It’s a different home but you’re still a carer and it can be difficult to adjust when you are not undertaking this role full time and have handed over some of the responsibility to others.

Some carer’s thoughts and feelings

“You have a great big void left”

 “Caring gave me a purpose which has now gone.”

“All the reason for living has gone”

“I fell apart and came to a standstill”

“All of a sudden everyone disappears, care workers, nurses, physios, all the people that visited your home.”

“It was as if somebody closed the door and no one knew I was there.”

 “I have to physically stop myself from driving into blue badge parking spaces.”

“I had to walk past things in the supermarket I would have previously bought”

“My wife’s friend came every week to have a chat and that stopped when she went into care.”

“I felt I couldn’t go to the usual support groups we had visited together.”

When your caring role changes it make take time to adjust. Having more time to yourself may give you the opportunity for a much needed rest, but it can also leave you feeling a little lost and without a purpose. You may feel some grief or some regret about the decision you have made. You may feel isolated after many years of caring, and you might want to see if there is any support you can get from others in a similar position.

If you are used to always having things to do, it can be hard to stop and think about what you would like to do now. Rest and give yourself some time to think!

  • Now your full time caring role has ended, you might want to take a short break somewhere.
  • Take some time to do things you enjoy, such as reading, going for a walk, or seeing family/friends.
  • You could find out what support Carers Leeds or national carers groups can offer.
  • You could decide to learn something new – have a look at some of these creative ideas in Leeds.
  • You could contact your local library or adult education centre to find out about courses or training in your area.
  • Many colleges have courses in a range of subjects. Taking a course can be a great way to meet new people.
  • If you have some spare time, and feel you are ready to take on something new, you may be interested in volunteering. As well as offering help to local people or organisations, volunteering can be a very social activity, and can be a good way to meet new people. Volunteering opportunities can range from befriending older or disabled people, offering your skills to a local charity and many other things.
  • Your local council and health authority may also welcome the input of carers in the planning and development of services in your area. Have a look and see if you want to help make changes in Leeds
  • Many former carers go on to become great campaigners, championing the role of carers in society, and standing up for carer’s rights. They bring their valuable experience with them, knowing the many challenges that carers may face.
  • If you are not sure what you would like to do and where to begin, think about the skills and interests you already have and how you could use them to benefit yourself and others

“Try not to be afraid when things change it may just lead to a new beginning”

Clare McNeill – Hospital Liaison Support Worker