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When the care role ends - A Guide for Carers

Caring for someone may be a big part of your life, but that might not always be the case. This may be because the person you care for has recovered, can no longer be cared for at home, or has passed away.

Whatever your situation, it’s important to know that you’re not alone, and there is help and support.

Carers NZ is a good place to start for information and advice:

  • visit carers.net.nz, or
  • call the Carers NZ helpline on 0800 777 797.

When the person you care for dies

Losing someone close to you can be devastating. If you have been caring for that person, the loss can seem even greater. How you cope with the death of that person is a very personal thing and there is no right or wrong way to deal with grief.

The best support often comes from the people you are close with and who know you. You may find that some people seem awkward around you, often because they want to do and say the ‘right thing’ but aren’t sure what that is. If you feel up to it, tell those around you, like family and close friends, what you need from them and how they can help.

Talking about what has happened and about the person who’s died can help you come to terms with your loss and to cope with your feelings. Talking to other people who have been bereaved and who understand what you might be going through can also help.

Your local hospice or your doctor can put you in touch with a bereavement counsellor or grief support network if you would like.

Help when someone has died

Funeral Grant

A Funeral Grant can help with some of the funeral costs of someone who has died. Generally, the person organising the funeral will apply for this.

How much you can get depends on the money or assets the person had when they died. If the person who died was your partner or child, how much you get will depend on how much you earn, as well as your assets.

Contact Work and Income. Veterans’ Affairs also pays funeral grants.

If the person you cared for died as the result of an injury or accident, contact ACC.

If the person you care for served in the New Zealand’s Armed Forces, they may be entitled to funeral expenses from Veterans’ Affairs.

To check their eligibility, either

Rebuilding your life

It may take time to adjust to the end of your care role. Having more time gives you the chance for a much-needed rest but it can also leave you with a lot of time.

When caring ends, some practical matters will have to be dealt with soon after, for example, benefits and housing, but you don’t need to rush into making decisions about what you are going to do next.

When you’re ready, you may want to consider finding new challenges, volunteering or learning something new. If you’re looking for ideas, carers.net.nz is a good place to start.

If you have given up work, worked less or not worked at all because of your caring responsibilities, you may want or need to work or return to work once your caring role ends. Visit careers.govt.nz to get information that can help you explore your options and see Moving into work.

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