Being a former carer: impacts on health and wellbeing

Watts, Jacqueline H. and Cavaye, Joyce (2018). Being a former carer: impacts on health and wellbeing. Illness, Crisis and Loss, 26(4) pp. 330–345.



In the United Kingdom, policy has formalized the role of carers through the introduction of new rights and entitlements to support. However, this support is directed only at current carers with the needs of former carers being unacknowledged. Yet, when caregiving comes to an end, the transition to a life as a “former” carer can be challenging. This article reports findings from a small-scale qualitative study about the experiences of former carers conducted in the United Kingdom. Findings highlight the impact of caregiving on the health and well-being of former carers with feelings of loss and distress associated with the end of caregiving. The need for support in the post-caregiving phase emerges as a significant issue with former carers feeling abandoned, lacking purpose and motivation to move forward in their lives. Findings suggest that the needs of former carers are not being met.

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