Caring for somebody you love is undoubtedly one of the most fulfilling things anyone can do – it is also incredibly demanding, both physically and emotionally.
No matter how much you want to carry on looking after someone, sometimes there comes a time when it is no longer the right or sensible thing to do.
Maybe the other person’s support needs are increasing, for example, their dementia is worsening or caring for them is more physically demanding. Or it might be your own health that is suffering from the demands of caring.
You may even have taken a career break but now need to return to work for financial and professional reasons.
Legal recognition of a carer’s right to stop caring
The Social Services and Well-being Act (Wales) 2014 says that local councils must not assume that a carer is able or willing to continue caring for someone.
The law also says that if you inform the local council that you are unable or unwilling to continue caring for someone, they must reassess the other person’s need for care and support.
As the other person’s carer, you were probably meeting many of their support needs, which means that the level of care they get from social services is now likely to increase (subject to an assessment [or reassessment] of their needs).
You are not letting anyone down
You shouldn’t feel that you are letting anyone down.
When you first took on your caring role, you probably had no idea how long your responsibilities would last or how they would impact on your life.
You have made a huge positive contribution to the other person’s life and helped them to live independently at home for as long as possible.
Now the important thing is to make sure they are living in the right place and will be getting all the care and support they need.
Getting your life back on track
Many carers report feeling lost when their caring role ends so be kind to yourself and take time to decide what you want to do next.
Carers UK Forum encourages former carers to support one another online.