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St. John's Hall,

Parkinson Street,

Bury. BL9 6NY.

Why are we needed?

It is estimated that the UK has 6.5 million carers of whom almost 2 million become former carers each year (Carers UK 2014). Additionally, because of an ageing population and a reduction in the availability of formal care provision the number of active carers in the UK are predicted to rise. Thus, the number of former carers will also rise.

Bury's most recent published Adult Carers Strategy states there were 3,320 registered Carers in the borough. The last census details 19,954 people stating they were Carers. The number of long term former Carers in Bury is unknown as their role ends.

The needs off former carers are consistently overlooked by policymakers despite the evidence that the end of care giving is a challenging period. As policy seeks to increase the level of informal care provision, there is an increasing risk that former carers will face uncertainty and social exclusion in the post care giving stage. This phase is difficult to adapt to and move on from. Yet in the context of their own ageing, poor health and high unemployment levels, there may be few opportunities for former carers to return to the labour market or forge ahead into a new life style.

Former carers experience elevated levels of psychological distress and as care giving has a profound and long­ lasting impact on their lives they are a potentially vulnerable population when this role ends. It can be recognised that the end of caring role is due mainly to the death of the person being cared for, with admission to a care home being the next reason. The inner impact of the transition to post caring and bereavement will bring continued feeling of stress, anxiety, depression and low mood accompanied by a loss of confidence and focus in the life bringing reduced self-esteem.

Over time carers have become isolated and because of their caring role have experienced a loss of friendships and social activities. These feelings do not dissipate, leaving former carers with feelings of isolation compounding the grief and distress suffered, which hinders them from moving on with their lives.

The well being of some former carers is connected to their financial situation which can radically alter after the caring role has finished leaving little or no savings after the immediate withdrawal of services and benefits.

Trying to cope with grief and bereavement with losses such as relationships, diminished confidence and emotional stability, along with health and reduced income leaves former carers in a helpless position. During a time at which additional support would have been welcomed, they are left to construct their post caring lives drawing much on their own resources. Some former carers may feel the loss and emptiness with the disconnection of those they had come to know as a carer.

It can be tremendously difficult to go from 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to nothing. This along side the pain of bereavement.

For more in formation, please contact 07510 435851