When you stop caring

My 94 year old mum has just died; I was her sole carer for years. I’m not sure the impact of this happening is fully appreciated no matter how much we should expect this. If anyone else says ‘oh but she was a good age’ I might feel compelled to clump them!! You love and care for someone all day; every day; and then they’ve gone. The death is, of course, very distressing, but also no longer being ‘mum’ to an oldie you care for is an additional shock.

Carers work so hard, physically and emotionally, and are on task 24/7 and then suddenly your full time ‘job’ stops. It is incredibly unsettling and finding yourself with free brain time is quite bizarre - suddenly you have no deadlines to chase; you’re not fighting your parent’s corner like a demented rottweiler; you are not racing hither and yon to get things done for someone else who can’t do it themselves; you are, shock horror, having time to look after yourself which is very odd. Suddenly being an orphan at 64 is a very peculiar situation - it’s going to take quite a while to get used to it.

Hi Swaneldo,

I am sorry to hear about your Mum.

As caring is so consuming, when the caring ends - it is a huge life change. It will take time to rediscover you, in your own right.

There is some information on the main website https://www.carersuk.org/news-and-campaigns/features/hidden-issues-when-caring-ends which may be of interest to you.

Is there anything that you gave up to care, that you would like to start doing again? That might be a good place to start.

Others should be along who have personal experience of this.


Many support groups cover carers who no longer provide care. Are you already connected to a support group. If not perhaps joining a carers group who provide this service. You might meet like minded people who may understand how you feel. And they can share their experiences and some coping strategies.

It is the end of that phase of your life.
The new phase will come, but this summer, concentrate on yourself.
If funds allow, treat yourself to having your hair done, a facial, a little holiday perhaps.
After my husband died, a few weeks later I went to stay in a Travelodge, a special offer.
Not to have a holiday, but a complete break from everyone and everything at home.
A time to be calm and listen to my inner thoughts, not the “I must do x and y and z”.
I bought a book called “Starting Again” by Sarah Litvinoff, usually cheap on ebay.
An easy read, not complicated or academic, but looking at things in the past and deciding if you want them in your future, or not.
Primarily designed for divorcees, but really appropriate to anyone approaching a new chapter in life.

How are you getting on with all the paperwork, returning stuff, utility bills etc.?

My husband died 2years ago 11th May. Was a long goodbye as he had Vascular dementia and other health issues. I went into brain fog, then panic at all that needed to be done. Have coped with lots, although have moments of panic still, when decisions need to be made. It’s a time of adjusting for you and it will happen. Time for reflection, and in time you will know what you would like to do. One day at a time.

Thanks everyone - it’s still a strange thing, but friends and new routines are key in getting back on track. Just so odd to suddenly have mind space to think and to have time to be spontaneous again without feeling guilty. Time will gradually heal and nature’s always been a great source of solace and tranquility to me.


sounds like you are finding your way.

We are here when you need us and others will always benefit from your lived experience of caring.


I stopped caring for my 95 year old Mum 18 months ago and to anyone who has just lost the person they care for I would say don’t rush things. Take time to grieve and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling. Talk about the person. Look at their things, their photos, their letters and try to remember the happier times. Be kind to yourself and don’t expect anything from other people as they really can’t feel it as you do. That’s probably the hardest part. You can feel alone in your grief and that can last a long time. Try to accept what has happened. This sadness will last for quite a while and when it subsides it will return every now and then when you are feeling a little low anyway. Feel it and then start again. Treat yourself, plan a nice activity, go for a walk go shopping, eat cake, have a takeaway, plan a holiday, meet a friend, go out for coffee. Do something. You never stop grieving but the pain eases to a point where you can cope with it. 18 months on I feel much better and in control of my emotions. It does improve. Thinking of you and wishing you well at this hard time.

I know it may sound odd, but I struggled to work out what I wanted to do, not could do, but what would really please me? I’d been doing things for others the real me had been buried.

To be honest, I am still struggling with what I want to do. Still can’t settle to a book, after being an avid reader. Although have done quite a bit in the house, and have to remind myself of that, and try not to get overwhelmed with what still needs doing.
I have low days, but know they will pass. Wondered to start with if they would.

You need a book that you can’t put down: if you like thrillers, (or maybe even if you don’t) try something by David Baldacci, James Patterson or the C J Box Jo Pickett series - (C J Box is more nicey nicey, but does still contain murder and mayhem to some degree.