Caring for Carers – New Resource Launched for Ireland’s former Family Carers

Categories: Care.

The booklet is available free of charge to former Family Carers by emailing It is also available to download at 

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

Former family carer, Annie McGuinness, cared for her husband Philip for six years. “We were rarely apart in all that time.  My whole focus in life was to keep my husband content, fulfilled and pain free. Then last September my husband died suddenly. After the first few weeks of numbness and bewilderment I became very angry.” said McGuinness. 

“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.”

Barbara Barrett, cared for her mother, Doris, until her recent passing.
“Let me tell you about Doris, because I have a lifetime of her memories, her beautiful face, her laugh, her stories, her love and her kindness and gentleness, and her endless cups of tea. I could go on and on.  Caring for Doris brought with it many challenges and indeed many ups and downs. Life is very different now naturally. When you were caring you never had a minute to yourself.  Now I have all these minutes and all of this time and honestly, am unsure what to do with this time. I find that I now have to re-establish relationships that I did not have the time to pursue. The biggest piece for me going forward is that I have no regrets.  This is huge; I know that I did everything I possibly could for Doris while she was alive. This gives me great comfort.  Doris was a very positive person, and I hope to carry this attitude with me as I set out on the next stage of my journey.”  
Both Barbara and Annie contributed to the creation of this new resource. Together with a number of not-for-profit organisations, brought together by Care Alliance Ireland,  this booklet will be distributed to former family carers across the country. 

Speaking about the content of the booklet, Barbara said; 

“I am very proud to have been able to contribute in some small way to this wonderful booklet. It is a very user friendly and practical guide on ways to immerse you back into life after caring.  It gives lots of information on many important subjects such as finances, counselling, wellbeing and advice around re-entering the work force. Most importantly it is a way of reaching out to a very important and understated group of people in our society.”

Describing the booklet, Annie said “Though not returning to work myself I was thrilled that the skills family carers have to offer an employer was set out in a clear and reassuring way for those contemplating going back to work. I really like the tone of the booklet. I found it gentle and had a personal feel as though it was just written for me.”

Speaking at the launch, Mr. 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.”

The booklet is available free of charge to former Family Carers and available to download at

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