help for carers

For anyone who is bereaved or no longer providing care.
Hi

I haven't written on this forum before but hoped someone might be able to help.

My lovely mum died in March after an awful fiasco for a year of her being moved from hospitals care home to hospital to care home to hospital. All of which was dreadfully upsetting, prior to this I had been a dedicated carer for more than three years. As you can imagine the combination of stress and grief hit me badly when mum died but I found my new totally vulnerable situation is distracting and contributing.

I had savings whilst caring for mum but mainly we lived off AA and CA both which stopped once she had been in hospital for several weeks. If the above mentioned hadn't happened I would have been okay because once mum was happily discharged into a caring care home I would have been able to start doing voluntary work and other paid jobs to supplement my savings and to create opportunities for references. As this didn't happened I have found that during a time when I feel totally miserable for losing such a wonderful mum I am also having to try to fight my way back into the working world. Now carers are tremendous people, I will always know that and so, I am sure, will all of you but out there in the big real world tell the job centre you were a carer and have lost confidence in your abilities to look for work and are they able to help in anyway and apparently I am no better than someone who has decided not to work for several years, you know the ones the Government keep talking about. The ones who don't want to work - really! I and all of you probably did more work than most people do. Anyway, my question is, does anyone k ow of a scheme, friendly organisation or anyone who would be open to helping not only myself but any other former carer who doesn't have a partner to support them. Thanks for your help.
A few years ago when I belonged to the real world I studied for the ECDL through Learn Direct and they had a classroom nearby that I think went under a different name but it escapes me at the moment and nothing helpful from google search. They ran a lot of professional courses and i think they also had a workshop for the unemployed so something like that may be interested in starting a group.
I think a lot of it is to do with attitude and confidence. When seeking work rather than describing ourselves as "just a carer" bring out all the skills we have, compassionate, partaking in meetings, organisational skills, administrative skills, working as part of a team with other carers and health professionals, communication skills and admin skills with DWP, time management skills, prioritising skills , following and understanding instructions- medication , coping under pressure, need to be flexible in outlook and able to deal with a crisis etc etc.
Thanks Henrietta

I have had a look round for the info you referred to but instead found a Health & Social Care course which seemed interesting and relevant so have applied to study that.

I did manage to join a domecillary care company on a 0 hours contract who I am still with but I am finding this much more difficult than I thought. Probably my ignorance and 'bereavement brain' but I thought they would allocate several different clients to me as initially I am only doing companionship. What they actually did was match me with someone the same age as mum was, who experiences chronic pain and is susceptible to falls and have me visiting every day, twice a day four times a week. Shame on me but I am finding this so hard. I don't think they understand the similarities I am likely to see between this lady and my mum and how painful that is. I am also so scared of bonding more than a professional carer should (professional carers should be compassionate but impersonal - a very tall order). I am hoping the course will help me become more professional but think although caring might be a future and natural career that domiciliary work is to isolating like caring for a loved one. I am thinking of seeing whether some of the better care homes are looking for care assistants instead. It seems since caring I can't even think about going back to the commercial world I was in before helping mum.
Hello Maureen

I have to say that I think you are being very brave taking on such a role so soon after your bereavement.

When my Mum died in 2012 I had every intention of volunteering at the care home where she had been for the 6 months before her death - I did go in a few times to visit some of the residents and help with afternoon tea but it was really 'too much, too soon' and I found that I just couldn't do it, far too many memories. I now volunteer for a local hospice working in one of their shops and am considering offering my, not inconsiderable, organisational talents to their offices.

I am 'lucky' in that I am retired now and, financially, don't need to work; but I can understand the problems you face. I was made redundant more than once in my working life - the last time when I was 45 and employers weren't interested in you if you were over 35 !! At that point I had to re-invent myself and be 'creative' with how I described my skills and which jobs I applied for. I ended up moving from a travel related career with a major television company to working as a Project Manager with a company selling high-end office furniture to blue chip companies. It was my organisational and 'people' skills that got me that job - not references from previous employers. As Henrietta says you probably have skills you don't even realise you have, you just need to think about how they can be transferred to the workplace.
Hi

I am sure with your experience that you would be a welcome addition in any care home. Try and talk to a few of them and also some of the staff if you get an apportunity to see who might be able to provide training and support while you develop your new career. Like You I left the world of finance behind and moved into care. After being so involved with care it would be nigh on impossible to return to the rat race and all the office twaddle of the "real world".
Hi and thanks for your advice/comments. Today I had to resign from the domicillary care agency, as time was going on I was getting more and more miserable. This was not help by one client needing me to call the paramedics. Thankfully they only spent a couple of days in hospital and then went home. However, this one incident proved to be too much for me. I am now wondering whether I can even work in the care industry. I have to work a weeks notice and then I think I will take a break and think what to do. I can't even go to the job centre now because I resigned. They don't make it easy for us carer's do they. Mind you, having visited several people living totally on their own with no visitors but carer's I am so glad I looked after mum myself. All this trouble now is worth it to know she was as happy as she possibly could be in her end years.
Hi Maureen
Sorry to hear things turned out that way. It sounds as though maybe you should have had the break first rather than doing care on top of care.
Same advice as before really, you have many skills so once you've had some time out and refocused on what you would enjoy doing, work out how your skills can be used.
I don't know what I will do when my home caring role ends. I can't imagine myself doing a full time carer job. I guess it depends a lot on finances at the end of the day and whether I'm willling or forced to downsize, or struggle to keep the house going.
When I lost my dad in 1998 after caring for him for 4 years, I found work in the care industry. It wasn't long before I was on antidepressants. It took me a good 3-4 years to build up from this low point. I've now just lost mum, after caring for her for 5 years and I won't be making the same mistake. It's very difficult. My chances of finding work are slim, not only because I've been out of the employment market, but also because I'm 62. As the end of Carer's Allowance approaches, it's tempting to apply for what seems like the only job I now have skills for and am likely to get. I want to work!!! Carers UK, why are we not campaigning for help, support and training for full-time carers after their caring duties come to an end?
Pam, hi - I suspect your post would benefit from being in a thread of its own - maybe you could repost it as a new discussion? Maureen's thread is pretty old now, and I feel your addition is a bit 'lost'?? Just a thought!

How very sad that you have now lost your mum -but how fortunate she was to have you to the end, and I hope her passing was 'peaceful'. But it's never easy, never, to lose a parent, however old we are ourselves. We still feel 'orphaned'.

The point you raise is a very pertinent one, isn't it? It was something that the government raised a while back, or something like that that - I can remember a news story about it and some discussion in the press, that family carers, when they are 'free' (!!!) from their own family carees, should then take on professional care work.

I do remember at the time how absolutely incensed I was! I'd only just emerged from having had to cope, completely unexpectedly, with my MIL with increasing dementia, and caring for her had completely eaten my life, shocked me rigid, and made me utterly furious with the situation! I was her sole carer - her surviving son lives in the USA - and it all fell to ME. And I did not no not want it to! So to me, the in a way very practical suggestion that former family carers use all the skills they've developed looking after their own family members, to work professionally, just hit a red spot in me.

My reaction was 'Dear God, isn't it bad enough our lives were eaten having to look after family, but now we have to look after other people's families as well????!!!'

Yet, of course, for some it's a very sensible option. I think it really depends on how we took to family caring. I took incredibly badly - but then it was my MIL (now in a home for dementia), not my own mum, and I acknowledge I might have felt very differently if it were my mum. (I'm v. fond of my MIL, had an excellent relationship with her all my life, no friction at all....but....no heartstrings. So what I could (maybe!) have given up for my own mum, I really resented to for my MIL, who had become totally 'helpless' in her life, and needed/wanted me 24x7 just about).

I do hope that you find the employment you want, that is right for you, and that your current bereavement heals better than when you lost your father. These times are never, never easy, even when death was a 'release' for the parent concerned.

Kind wishes, at a difficult time for you, Jenny
My husband and I have had almost 31 years of caring for our disabled son and if anything (god forbid) happened to him they can get stuffed before we go and work in the lack of care industry. We've seen too much from the other side of it and we have done it for the majority of our lives now. When will it be OUR time? As my husband says he wants nothing to do with any of it - disability issues - anything. He wants to have (finally) time for us. 34 years of marriage and we can count one two hands the time we have had that.

Eun