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Care for carers

 Jackie Weeks became her mum’s main carer when her stepdad died suddenly two years ago.


Jackie, who was a care support worker, found that she was working round the clock in both her paid and unpaid roles.

Her mum, Gisela, who is 75, is blind, diabetic and in a wheelchair and was able to move in with her daughter and family while her house was being sold.

Gisela later moved into a warden-controlled flat just down the road from Jackie, who visits her every day to help with a variety of tasks, such as checking her blood sugar, ensuring she takes her medication, doing her shopping, cooking and cleaning.

“Having a full-time job is easier because you have a start time and a stop time, but when you’re a carer, you don’t,” said Jackie, who lives in Salisbury.

Thankfully, with the help of Carers Support Wiltshire, which works in conjunction with Carers Trust, Jackie occasionally has a chance to catch up with other carers over coffee and have a short break away from her caring role.

“Nothing that I do is hard work but it’s a 24-7 role – that’s the hard thing about it and the carer support I now receive is great. I hadn’t realised there are organisations that do that.

“Caring for your elderly parent is draining, but she’s mine and I’ll always look after her. The elderly really do deserve to be taken care of in the best possible way.”

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Your Later Life 2020

Dealing with bereavement and grief as a carer

Helen Walker (pictured)

Chief Executive, Carers UK

Everyone feels and reacts differently to becoming bereaved. There is no right or wrong way to deal with how you feel about this. 


COVID-19 has meant that some carers are having to face the loss of the person they looked after, maybe under very difficult circumstances.

Grieving will feel very different  right now, as carers are not able to reach out to others in the ways they usually would, and support services are not all operating as normal.

In the immediate aftermath of losing someone, there are usually many practical matters to deal with, from registering the death to organising the funeral. It can feel like your emotions are on hold.

It may help to break these tasks down, listing them in order of priority and ticking them off once completed.

Carers will experience a whole range of emotions, especially if this signifies the end of their caring role.

Consider a memorial service

The way funerals are taking place at the moment may not be the way you would want to say goodbye to someone.

You might want to start planning a memorial service or gathering for those unable to attend. That way, you know that everyone who wants to say goodbye can, and you have a chance to celebrate their life as you normally would have done.

Understandably, you might feel too upset to face these tasks. If you feel able to, tell the people around you what you need from them and how they can help.

There are professionals who can support you.

Expect unexpected emotions

Everyone feels and reacts differently to becoming bereaved. There is no right or wrong way to deal with how you feel about this. 

As well as the emotional pain of losing someone they love, carers will experience a whole range of emotions, especially if this signifies the end of their caring role.

Your feelings could range from relief at having more time to yourself, to guilt at feeling that way, to a desire to make some big changes, to feeling exhausted, alone and unable to do much at all.

Feeling free to acknowledge these complex emotions can be an important part of coming to terms with your loss.

Sometimes it can help to share your feelings with a close family member or friend or you could turn to a bereavement charity such as Cruse Bereavement Care or Sue Ryder’s Online Bereavement Support.

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