Life after caring

While some people may be relieved to move on from caring responsibilities, many people find it difficult to adjust to life after caring, especially if they have been a full-time carer.

For some people caring never stops.

How might I feel about life after caring?

Empty or without purpose: Caring for someone who is seriously ill can take up most of your time. If you are no longer needed as a carer it can leave a void or sense of emptiness. You may feel your life has no purpose.

Alone: You may miss the support of the hospital medical team and other services.

Lonely: Your caring responsibilities might have left you isolated, if you were too busy to have a social life or spend time with friends and family.

Sad: If your loved one passed away you may find it hard to deal with your loss and feelings of grief.

Anxious about getting back to normal:  For example, you may be worried about returning to work, if you took a break to care for your loved one.

Worried about problems: You may have problems that you didn't deal with while you were busy caring. For example, you may have financial problems or health problems of your own that you need to be dealt with.

How can I adjust to life after caring?

Most people need to go through a period of adjustment before their lives can start to return to normal. Be kind to yourself and give yourself some time to adjust and deal with any worries and feelings of loss or grief.

If you are feeling very sad or finding it hard to deal with your emotions, there are lots of people who can help you. For example, bereavement support groups, counsellors, services offering financial and legal advice. Call our Cancer Nurseline on 1800 200 700 or visit a Daffodil Centre for information on where to get help.

Getting back to normal

Most people find a way to move on with their lives, after a period of adjustment. You may find new purpose in your life through:

  • Returning to work
  • Spending more time with family and friends
  • Taking up a new interest or occupation
  • Being involved with support groups
  • Volunteering

Useful resources

The Care Alliance has produced a handbook to support people who have recently stopped being a carer.

Download the Care Alliance handbook here (external site, pdf 2.62MB)

Note: The Irish Cancer Society is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Date Last Reviewed: 
Wednesday, April 6, 2016