ARTICLES / General /
Saying Goodbye to Caregiving /
By Jenifer Bradley, Staff Writer
Everything comes to an end, good and bad.
When living the daily grind as a caregiver,
there are both moments. When the season of
caregiving ends, many caregivers are found
searching for something to fill their time and
Whether a full- or part-time caregiver, there is
a sense of loss when a loved one passes. For a lot
of caregivers, it is a double loss, of a person and
The “mental work”
The most pressing thing on a caregiver’s mind at
the end of caregiving is the overwhelming feeling of
There’s a lot of “business” to take care of,
which will be discussed later, but first it’s
important that caregivers give themselves the time
and space they need to grieve and process the new
phase of life they are entering.
One of the ways to do that is by reconnecting
with family and friends whose relationships may have
been in limbo during the caregiving period. Many
times, this is accomplished naturally through
funeral services, family coming into town to help,
etc. Experts say that participating in these rituals
is beneficial and a way to have a sense of peace and
closure at this time of a caregiver’s life, whether
they are 90 or 19.
A caregiver actually may feel a sense of relief
and the ability to “breathe” again, especially if it
was a drawn-out caregiving role which has ended.
Eventually, those feelings will lead to growth and a
new independence; but at first, they may leave a
person feeling empty and guilty. This is normal and
will change as time passes.
It’s important a caregiver find new meaning or
connections with things they once enjoyed, such as
hobbies, sports or other recreational activities.
They also should set realistic goals. Many
caregivers try to conform to society’s expectations
that after a few months, life will return to
“normal.” For a person who was an active caregiver,
their normal was not the same as others. Small steps
will help carry a caregiver through the grieving
process and also give way to a set of new priorities