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End of life issues

Moving on as a carer

Caring for someone can become a major part of your life. When that person dies, as well as being a huge loss to you personally, it can leave a space in your life that can at first be hard to fill, especially if you're feeling unsure of yourself.

Having more time for yourself can give you the opportunity to see old friends again, to take up old hobbies, and to learn something new. You can refresh skills that you didn't use while you were a carer, learn new skills, or make use of new interests or skills that you've gained from being a carer.

Training courses after caring

There are many courses you can take, either to learn something new or to expand your existing knowledge. Courses are also a great way to meet new people. You can find out about local courses from your library, adult education centres or through the National Careers Service on 0800 100 900.

Returning to work after caring

If caring for someone meant you had to give up a job, or you've never been able to work at all, returning to work may be something that interests you. If you're not sure what you want to do, think about the knowledge and skills you already have, and how you could use them. Include past paid work, voluntary work, hobbies and interests, and the skills you've gained as a carer or parent. Think about what you like doing, how you'd like to use your skills, and anything that you used to do and have missed.

Before you start seriously thinking about going back to work, consider a personal development training course. It can help to build your confidence and manage stress, and provide assertiveness training.

Learning for Living

City and Guilds, a provider of vocational qualifications, runs a programme created specifically for carers and former carers. It's an online learning programme called . Its website puts you in touch with a tutor and gives you instant feedback, so you can see straight away how you're doing. The programme will help you update skills you already have, or develop new ones.

There is also a qualification called the Certificate in Personal Development and Learning for Unpaid Carers. This is designed to:

  • support your personal development by helping you identify the skills you already have,
  • provide a nationally recognised qualification to help boost your confidence, and
  • help you move on to other qualifications, further education or employment.

Bereavement: life after being a carer

When the person you've been caring for dies, there is support available to you. In this video, former carers discuss how they coped with their grief and found a new purpose in life.

Media last reviewed: 14/12/2012

Next review due: 14/12/2014


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Page last reviewed: 15/08/2012

Next review due: 15/08/2014

Call Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053

Confidential information and advice for carers.

Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays), 11am to 4pm at weekends. Request a free call back or an interpreted call back in one of more than 170 languages including ربي, বাংলা, 中文, Français, ગુજરાતી, Polski, Português, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Soomaali, Español, Türkçe and .اردو.

You can talk to an adviser live online or send a query by email.

Find out more about the Carers Direct helpline.


Information and real stories about coping with different types of bereavement

Edna Graham, who cared for her mother through pancreatic cancer

Caring to the end

Read how Edna found support from her faith when she was caring for her mother who had terminal pancreatic cancer