Time to pick up the pieces

Dandelions blowing in the wind in a meadow

Caring to the end

A guide to end of life care and beyond for unpaid carers in Surrey

Time to pick up the pieces

It can be difficult to pick up the pieces after a long period of caring. Here are some issues you might want to think about in terms of moving on:

Having a break

  • You may be relieved when your caring role stops and this can make you feel guilty. This is a normal reaction. You may also feel unwell, as you are coping with grief and physical exhaustion from your caring role. There also may be health issues that you have ignored for some while. 
  • You may have some immediate practical issues to deal with, so it is important to give yourself the space and time for a much needed rest and to adjust without rushing into making any significant decisions about how you fill your time in the future.
  • You could consider taking a short break somewhere to recuperate. Talk to your GP, who may be able to give you a GP Carers Break Payment to help cover the cost. You could just do things you enjoy such as read a book, go for a walk, or see family and friends. 
  • For more information on local support to take a break visit the Action for Carers website.

What next?

  • If you have been caring for a number of years you may be feeling very isolated and would like to link up with other former carers in a similar situation. Contact your local hospice to find out about support groups for former carers, or contact Action for Carers in Surrey. You can also speak to former carers on the Carers UK Forum.
  • How about returning to an interest or hobby, or perhaps learn a new skill? There may be some courses and training in your area. You may also find it is a great way to meet new people with similar interests. 
  • During your caring role you will have gained new skills which you may feel you want to put to good use. This could be through volunteering. Alternatively you can contact your borough’s social prescribing service to find out about local volunteer opportunities. 
  • Some former carers are keen to put the skills and knowledge they have acquired during their caring role to further use by exploring related volunteering opportunities. You can, for example, volunteer with Action for Carers in Surrey by helping out with administration, carer events, fundraising, or campaigning on behalf of carers. You might also consider working as a volunteer at your local hospice or hospital. Go to Directory and Further Information for contact details.
  • Alternatively, you may be ready to start or return to paid work. Think about what you would like to do and identify your skills and areas of interest. Then think about what jobs might match those skills and interests. Take a look at The National Careers Service to get information on the skills and qualifications needed for the jobs you are considering, as well as an online tool to help check out your skills. You can also go to nidirect or your local job centre for further guidance on getting back into the workplace as a carer.
  • Surrey Care Trust is a local charity providing training, learning and mentoring for people overcoming disadvantage and transforming their skills for life, learning and work.  
  • For more general information go to the Marie Curie website.