New booklet to help family carers returning to paid work and education when caring has ended

New booklet to help family carers returning to paid work and education when caring has ended

Family carers should now find it easier to discover their options for returning to paid work and further education once their caring has ended.

Care Alliance Ireland has produced a new booklet with practical advice and details of various supports and counselling services.

The booklet outlines options for returning to paid work, volunteering, further education - as well as online supports and counselling services.

The charity says family carers can feel particularly lost and confused once their loved one dies.

Annie McGuinness, who cared for her husband Philip for six years, said she was left "with an awful void" he died

"We were rarely apart in all that time. My whole focus in life was to keep my husband content, fulfilled and pain-free," said Ms McGuinness.

"Then last September my husband died suddenly. After the first few weeks of numbness and bewilderment, I became very angry.

"The main question for me has been, ‘Who and what I am now that I am no longer a wife or a carer?’

"Being the ex-carer of a spouse who has died has left me with an awful void on so many levels. I am always tired and have to pace myself each day. I have lost much of my enthusiasm for anything.

"I can’t commit to anything. I have to push myself to leave the house. I am not keen to be in a group situation too long. At times it is hard to keep going to find a purpose."

Ms McGuinness is one of the people who contributed to the new booklet. Together with a number of not-for-profit organisations, brought together by Care Alliance Ireland, the booklet will be distributed to former family carers across the country.

Speaking at the launch, Liam O’Sullivan, Executive Director, Care Alliance Ireland, said: "This resource will serve to support and guide former family carers, knowing that the care they provided for a family member will undoubtedly shape how they view and live their lives going forward."

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