Moving on after being a caregiver for so long can be an extremely difficult task. Not only are you faced with the grief of losing a loved one, but you are also faced with a drastic change in your daily life—no more caregiving. So much of your time can be taken up by the daily tasks required to care for your loved one. When they are gone, causing them to leave with more than just their presence, they also take the daily life you used to know.
Some caregivers feel relief upon the death of their loved one. This is totally normal and nothing to be ashamed of. By the end of their life, your loved one may not even be the same person they were before. The Family Caregiver Alliance describes it as, “Many caregivers feel relieved that their ordeal is over and that the care receiver is no longer suffering. This is not something to feel guilty about. It is one of many feelings that people have when caregiving ends.”
Are you struggling with life after caregiving? Here are some tips that can help you:
Take Time to Grieve
It’s important to take the time you need to grieve, not only for the loss of your loved one but also for the life you have gotten accustomed to living. A lot of people feel pressure to quickly get over the loss and move on. The first year has a lot of firsts, the first birthday, the first holiday season, the first anniversary, etc. It’s recommended to take at least a year to embrace the grief. Sometimes it might take longer, and that’s okay. Listen to yourself and take the time you need to grieve.
Sometimes the caregiver could use some caring, and that’s okay. Seek out some support groups of people who are going through similar situations as you. Talking to those who know what you are going through often give great advice, can offer a listening ear, and are there for you when you need it most. Check out some support group resources here.
Through your time as a caregiver, you can often commit your whole life to help that one person. When they have passed, it’s common to forget what you like to eat or what you like to do for fun. For so long your life was consumed by someone else, what they liked and what you could do for them. Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself to figure out what can make you happy again. Spend some time finding yourself again, this can help with the overall grieving process.
It’s the first time in a long time that you don’t have this worry, stress, or exhaustion looming over you. It’s time to catch up on your sleep and relax how you need to without constant worry or guilt eating you up.
Everybody grieves differently, and that’s okay. Listen to yourself and take the time to take your life back.
At Loretto, we’re here to help you and your loved ones. If you have questions, comments or concerns associated with life after caregiving, please don’t hesitate to reach out. With 19 specialized programs and facilities and 2,500 hundred dedicated caregivers, we are dedicated to providing quality care to the Central New York Community. We proudly serve over 10,000 individuals annually with a system of care that addresses the unique needs of every individual. Looking for more information on care for you and your loved one? Visit our Choosing Your Care page, or feel free to contact us!