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W.I.R.E.D,
Unit 7.
Wirral Business Park.
Arrowe Brooke Road.
Upton
Wirral.
CH49 1SX.
Tel: 0151 522 7990
Fax: 0151 670 1600
Minicom: 0151 653 3230

Company No: 2997803
Charity No: 1060105

Life after Caring


 

The end of caring is a traumatic time for the carer. They will be suffering loss, either by the person they were caring for dying or going into a care home. There will be enormous adjustments to be made, and at a time when the carer feels they are wading through a morass of mixed emotions: grief, guilt, relief, exhaustion, low self – esteem and panic.

Many carers simply don’t know what the next step is or who to turn to. Because the only thing they will have been paid during the years of caring is lip-service their finances will also have suffered and they will want to find employment, although work may be the last thing they feel like. Many of the ties and links with the outside world will have been broken while they were caring and they will feel alone and vulnerable…

All this gives only the merest impression of what ex-carers go through when they leave the limbo-like world of caring for the now strange and unfamiliar world of normal life.

Their most immediate need is rest, the length of the rest depending on how long and how intense the caring role was. They will need to learn to take care of themselves, an alien concept to the carer, and will need others to take care of them. Counselling can be very helpful to resolve painful experiences and other emotional issues; a health – check from the doctor would also be advisable; and many carers benefit from holistic therapies. But above all, time and patience on all sides is essential: the damage that caring can do to a person – the isolation, the deprivation of normality, the penury – will not be undone quickly. Perhaps slowly, the government is becoming more aware of the sensitive issues carers have to face. Before October 2002 Invalid Care Allowance stopped immediately when the person being looked after died and the carer was expected to be available for work the day after. Now the invalid Care Allowance continues for another 8 Weeks.

As well as the services and contacts detailed on this site, another excellent resource is a book, probably the only one on this subject. Past Caring written by Audrey Jenkinson, an actress whose career was interrupted by having to care for her parents. As well as telling her own story she follows the fortunes of other ex-carers she has interviewed – the stories of courage, endurance and sheer love are highly compelling reading. With the benefits of her own experience to draw on Audrey Jenkinson also provides some answers to the big questions and give her own programme of recovery so that ex-carers can begin to live again. This is essential reading for carers, ex -carers and anyone who wants to understand what caring is about.

 

If you would like information about local support group for former carers please call the carers helpline
0151 677 0777
or contact us


Role On is a charity set up to support former carers on Wirral for mor information call 0151 645 6027.

You will also find information about life after caring on the carers uk website.

Helpline

AQS

Past Caring by Audrey Jenkinson

It would be truism to say that this is the best book on its subject – to my knowledge it
is the only book on its subject.
What Audrey Jenkinson has set out to do , following her own experiences as a carer for her parents, is to give an insight into what carers lives are like, what they think and feel, as well as their experiences of learning to live again after their caring roles end. In this she has succeeded magnificently. Past Caring is packed with real – life heroes and heroines who have consented to tell their stories, and the author, her indignation and anger growing palpably with every fresh insight, draws scathing parallels with the spoilt celebrity generation and their ill-deserved ‘hero’ status

However, it would be unfair to represent the book as just one long diatribe against modern–day shallowness. With each story, Audrey Jenkinson comes to realise how much light is being shed on her own experiences of trying to put her life back together, and begins to draw some conclusions about achieving closure on some of the outstanding issues. (As a reader, and ex-carer myself, I also had moments of dawning realisation and this is part of the value of the book.)

At the end of the book she realises that life needs to be embraced again-more fully than ever - and gives lots of advice on the many ways an ex-carer can do this. The advice is always given in an understanding way that takes into account that all people are different with differing needs, and it is not so much a case of, 'You must do this' as 'Some people found this helpful' or 'If this doesn't work try this'. By the end of the book the reader, hopefully, will be beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel and if you think the metaphor trite, I can think of none better to describe the experience of years of caring.

Simon Wagener
.

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Updated April 2015