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Many people who have cared for someone who has died find it hard to adjust to a life without the role of caring. Sometimes, they find it hard to consider life without the person they cared for. Other times they have been caring for so long that life without the caring role feels empty. Many feel that the grief is so intense that they want to be alone. All of those feelings are very normal.
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Some bereaved carers can have ongoing emotional and physical health problems as a result of their caring experience. Being a bereaved carer, increases your risk of developing serious illness. Therefore it is important that you make a plan to look afer yourself and also develop a plan for moving forward with your own life, even if it is moving very slowly. We know that having strong social connections and having some form of meaning or vocation can both have a positive impact on your mental and physical health. This Checklist and Plan for Moving Forward has been developed for you to complete in the months following the death of your partner, relative or friend. We do not recommend you use it in the early weeks following the death. Its purpose is to help you think about your own health during this dificult time. We have made a number of suggestions for ways you could look afer yourself during this time. Tick the boxes of suggestions that you could try in the coming weeks.
Use the above checklist to make a plan for yourself for the coming weeks which will help you look afer yourself, stay healthy, connect socially, and explore new interests.
You should not expect life to return to exactly the way it was before caring. Things have changed. You have changed. However, you should feel like you are moving forward and taking small steps towards making a life for yourself.
If it has been many months since the death of your partner, relative, or friend, and you don’t feel like you are moving forward in any way, contact your GP or other health professional. Some people do develop a more complicated form of grief that does need specialist support. See our resources and helplines information sheet in the Carer Library.