Feeling sad

Hi I am a former carer And it’s a. Struggle at times I would like to try and set up a group if I can with advice.to chat with other like minded people like my self.Best wishes Amanda H

When I worked at a carers centre, the calls I dreaded most were from recently bereaved carers, because their lives had changed so much. From having a purpose and a structure in life that revolved around the person they cared for, to a life that they felt was without meaning and worthless.

But the truth, though hard to see from their perspective, is that former carers have so much to offer. Hard won experience of the most difficult part of caring for someone. The choices that carers may have to face. The mistakes they can avoid. The importance of self-care.

Because for many of us the fact is that caring will only end when the person we care for dies - or when we die first. Not fun.

And although carer groups were available for former carers to join in, for some it was a reminder of everything they’d lost, so a group for former carers is a really good idea, Amanda.

Michael Shann, who heads up the Membership and Volunteering team at Carers UK, is working to organise something around this. We’ll be getting an update this month in the newsletter.

I would welcome a chance to have group for former carers. Would be a good support
My husband died recently and can’t face going to local carers group now although would be very welcome.just too difficult.
As you said another reminder of everything.
Having been a carer for so many years and now no longer obviously a huge change coupled with the overwhelming grief.
I’m thinking about going back to work in the early stages of mulling it over.
Sure if group set up will be on website.

I’m a former carers as well, as recently bereaved, and would welcome a group focusing on former carers.
Just 3 months gone so all still pretty raw. I had been caring full-time for my wife for last 5 years, and in the last two she needed a lot of support so paid carers coming in a few times each day, as well as other professionals advising regularly. I obviously got to know them quite well. Although my wife’s death wasn’t unexpected, I was still shocked by the sudden quietness as this pseudo ‘social network’ around us disappeared. Fortunately my adult children came and stayed with me, but after the funeral and everyone returned to their lives, and I was alone at home, it again became very quiet. Luckily for me I have a couple of cats who insist (quite loudly!) that I get out of bed each morning to feed them, so are keeping me in a routine.

Although, due to caring, I have been out of the paid work environment for over five years I’m not ready to retire yet. Fortunately financially I don’t have to rush into finding work so am concentrating on building a social network (long gone due to caring) and new life for myself. When you have been so focused on making someone else’s (diminishing) life as easy as possible it’s hard to suddenly have to think about yourself, and what you would like to do. I’m still getting use to this new ‘freedom’.

What I have found useful is a group run by the local hospice - Walk Talk Kernow (Community Services | Cornwall Hospice Care). They organise short (2 miles max.) walks (amble rather than a ramble) every few weeks starting from a different location each time. Anyone can come along and it usually ends somewhere that serves coffee and cake! The groups I’ve been along to have had between 2-5 bereaved people, so comfortable as we have our wander, and chat. It’s been the only place I’ve felt I could really talk about what has happened as I know these people actually know what I’m going through, where as at ‘normal’ groups I’ve been to recently, it’s been a conversation killer saying you’re wife has recently died - apart from the the quick words of sympathy given. At Walk Talk Kernow sessions I’ve been to, most have recently (last 2 years) lost a partner. Supporting others so they can talk about their experiences also helps me feel I’m giving something positive back. If you’re in a similar situation to me and can find a group like this in your area I’d recommend giving it a go. Rob

Hi Rob,
Thank you for posting.

I’m sorry to hear about your wife.

I think a lot of former carers will relate to your experience and how alien it is to focus on your own quality of life after putting a caree first for so long.

When @18Amanda27h first started this thread we raised the idea with Carers Uk and it was something they were going to explore.

The former carers walking group you found sounds very supportive, I wonder if other areas have them too.

Take care of yourself. Reach out to your neighbours and relatives for help etc.

Hi Rob
Sorry for your loss. I have an understanding of the quietness in the house. My lovely late husband had been in a nursing home for 3 years so homecwas quiet but I had the focus of visiting him and making sure his needs were met.
I have a very caring supportive family and am blessed. We all miss him very much although adjusting. He died in 2019.
Your post is very enlightening. Thank you for it.