Life after Caring
When your caring role comes to an end, it may take some time to adjust to a different way of life.
Gloucestershire Carers Hub are still here for you to offer support, information and advice for up to 12 months following your bereavement.
We offer a number of different services which can support you with your wellbeing and planning for the future which may be of interest to you.
When you support someone else, you may have had very little spare time for yourself and it is hard to think of what happens next, when that person passes away. You will be handling grief alongside excess time to fill which you may not be used to; on this page we have compiled some ideas to support you through this difficult time in your caring journey.
We will continue to be here for you should you need a listening ear, social interaction. This could be through our Buddy Up Scheme, volunteering or through our What’s On Programme.
Every caring situation is different and your role whatever and however you supported someone, means that you have given up a lot or all of your time to provide care and support to someone else. Take your time to work through your grief and avoid making any big decisions until you have worked through it at your own pace. You may become more exhausted, both physical and emotional exhaustion can set in when you have been supporting someone. Give your body and mind chance to heal and recuperate.
Stages of Grief
There are five stages of grief, you can find out more information by visiting: https://www.cruse.org.uk/understanding-grief/effects-of-grief/five-stages-of-grief/
Practical matters when dealing with someone’s death
There is a step-by-step guide available to support you when someone dies it can be found on the Government Website: What to do after someone dies: Register the death – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you are in receipt of any benefits you will need to make sure that the individual agencies are updated. This will ensure that you are in receipt of the correct benefits and they will update your information to say that you are no longer caring. There may be changes to your housing situation including the receipt of any council tax reductions which may have been in place.
More information with regards to benefits can be found: Benefits and financial support when someone dies – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
This can all be done by using the Tell Us Once service which should have been outlined to you when you registered the death with a registrar. The Tell Us Once service is outlined on the following website: What to do after someone dies: Tell Us Once – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
When you are registering a death, make sure you get enough copies of the death certificate to enable you to deal with the practically of dealing with accounts held by the person who has died.
There is also information regarding practical support when someone dies: Bereavement Advice Centre | Free Helpline
The Citizen’s Advice Bureau has information on dealing with financial affairs when someone dies: Dealing with the financial affairs of someone who has died – Citizens Advice
We have put together some suggestions which may be of benefit to you when you are ready and feel that it is the right time for you.
There are a number of different services available for bereavement support.
People experience bereavement and grief in different ways.
You may wish to explore the options below and do what you feel is rights for you. There is no right or wrong answer when you are dealing with your own grief.
- Cruse Bereavement, give a wide range of information regarding bereavement and grief: Understanding grief – Cruse Bereavement Support
- Mind have specific information if someone has died as a result of suicide: Losing someone to suicide – Mind
- Information on Grief after bereavement from the NHS: Get help with grief after bereavement or loss – NHS (www.nhs.uk)
- Death Cafes – There are a number of death cafes which are held around the county and information on these is shared on our social media pages as and when they arise.
- The Good Grief Trust have useful information: Home – The Good Grief Trust
- Coping with grief and bereavement advice, from the Bereavement Advice Centre: Bereavement Advice Centre | Coping with Grief and Bereavement Advice
- Recently Bereaved, there is information available from Gloucestershire County Council – How do you feel? – Gloucestershire County Council
- National directory available via Marie Curie Bereavement support directory (mariecurie.org.uk)
- Your Circle has its own directory covering everything countywide and has national links End of Life and Bereavement | YourCircle
Making yourself a priority
As we have mentioned before there may be periods of mental and physical exhaustion which you need to give yourself time to recover from. Rest when you need to and ensure that you practice self-care. Self-Care could be in the form of whatever you enjoy you may wish to try:
- Art or craft
- Participating in a hobby
- Meeting friends or family
There is no right or wrong answer, just take some time for you and do something for yourself which makes you feel better.
You may wish to have a short break away somewhere or take some time to spend with family and friends. Whatever you chose to do make sure you are thinking of yourself and how you can develop your self-awareness.
You may also want to explore new opportunities. Our What’s On sessions are available to you for up to 12 months and you can try any of the sessions which are available. You could try some exercise sessions or a chance to meet with other people and explore information which may be of support to you.
You need to allow yourself to discover what makes you, you. Would you like to take up an old hobby? Was there something you haven’t been able to do that you would like to now?
Whatever you decide to do make yourself a priority and give yourself much needed time.
Adjusting to a new routine when someone dies
When someone dies it can completely change your day-to-day life, there will have been significant changes which have happened and maintaining a routine can be beneficial to making grief more manageable.
The brain when processing grief can make you feel debilitated. Establishing a solid routine can support with managing the grieving process and also build good habits into your life.
As we have mentioned before, grief is dealt with in different ways by different people. It can take months or years to deal with grief. It can also affect the individual experiencing grief to maintain a normal routine. However, attempting to maintain a routine during the hardest elements of dealing with grief can have the most benefit to you.
What should I do to build a new routine?
If you have provided support to someone for a long period of time, they would have primarily been the main part of your routine. It is hard to adapt and change your routine. This can take time to build upon and maintain so take your time when establishing a new routine.
You need to take some time to work out how you want your new routine to work for you, you may want to plan day by day or over a longer period of time. You may want to try a new routine and see if it will work for you, that is ok, there is no quick fix to building a new routine.
If you have started to take time to do a hobby or you have taken up a regular class, this could be a good place to start by building your routine around those things which you have started to do.
You may find it easier to focus on things which are easy to repeat on a daily basis. You may wish to focus on the things which your body and mind needs. Making sure you take control of your health can have many benefits. You could choose to focus on your diet, sleep and level of exercise to start. You may wish to focus on your self-care which could include having a daily bath or shower or taking time to sit and have a cup of tea or coffee before you start your day.
Planning in when and what you eat can support with a routine, you could complete a meal plan for the week and plan. You might focus on a time to go to bed and a planned time to go to sleep, this can work for having enough sleep and planning in regular wake up times to start.
Focusing on planning in some exercise or some form of movement will make you feel better and having something planned to do can help develop a healthy regular exercise routine and develop consistency. Even if it is 30 minutes a day of some regular movement.
Taking things slowly can help in maintaining a routine around some main factors which support with your health and wellbeing.
When making a new routine, make sure that you ensure that reactions to grief are included within it, these reactions could be everyday occurrences and could include smells, types of music, many things can trigger a grief reaction. It may be difficult initially to control these reactions, but you can build a routine to deal with various reminders over time.
Our counselling service could support you in giving you tools with regards to grief, to talk to someone please call us on 0300 111 9000 to discuss your needs.
Just remember initially to keep a routine simple and not too busy. Allow yourself time to adjust to a new routine and some things may or may not work for you. Any form of stability can help you to work through grief at your own pace.
Remember, your routine is to work around you and you ensure that your health and wellbeing is maintained effectively.
Gaining support through other people
You may feel alone or isolated after you have been supporting someone for a number of years, and you may want to explore opportunities to form new relationships or increase your support network.
If you are looking to increase your support network or make new friends. Our Buddy Up scheme is available to both Carers and former Carers. To find out more about the scheme visit: Peer Support – Buddy Up scheme – Gloucestershire Carers Hub
We also have a number of sessions on our What’s On which you would be welcome to join in with. There are coffee mornings, sessions to gain information and also activity sessions. There is something for everyone so take a look and see what you may like to join.
Making steps to return to work, further learning or volunteering
You may have taken a break from working due to supporting someone, this may be something which you would like to return to when you are ready.
There are a number of options available to ease you back into a routine which may include work, learning or volunteering.
You may wish to refresh your skills or knowledge by taking part in a course, there are a number of ways which you can learn.
You can explore a number of courses which are available through Adult Education – Adult Education in Gloucestershire – Adult Education in Gloucestershire
There are a number of organisations who offer free distance learning options for level two qualifications. Google Level two free qualifications and see if there are any available which are right for you.
Returning to employment or volunteering
You may wish to go back into a work environment or use some of your time to support people within an organisation which means something to you by volunteering.
After a period of time being out of a work environment it may feel a little daunting thinking about what you would like to do next. Take your time and think about what type of thing you would like to do. You may want to incorporate the skills you have developed whilst supporting someone, or you may wish to return to an old career path.
Whatever you decide, take some time to develop a plan of action and what you see yourself doing and what time you have available to take a job or volunteering role.
Our volunteers come from a range of different backgrounds, many of our volunteers are former carers and they volunteer for us to maintain connections or help because we offered support to them during their caring journey.