6 stages in caring for someone
Most carers find that things change over time – both for the person they care for and for themselves. You will probably go through different stages as you care for someone. These stages are sometimes called the ‘caring journey’.
Everyone’s caring journey is different. You may not go through every stage. You may go through some stages several times.
It’s important to recognise that caring is not about the destination but the journey itself. It’s also important to recognise that you are not going to know everything straight away, and you can get help at every stage along the way.
You may start your caring role by noticing something wrong with someone close to you. The changes may be physical or mental. You may notice changes happening quickly or over a long time. It might take some time to find out what’s wrong.
You may start your caring role when you receive a diagnosis from a health professional. You may need to make decisions about treatment and care. It’s a good idea to find out as much as you can about the health condition and what you can expect.
Once you know about the condition of the person you care for, you start a routine of treatment and care. You work out what they need in health care and personal care, and you contact health professionals who might help you.
At this stage, you have set up a routine and organised some of the support you need. This stage can be stable, but you can also experience emergencies that take you back to the Surviving stage.
At this stage, you have not only established routines for the person you care for, but know how to handle emergencies, and have ongoing ways to care for yourself and manage your stress.
Life after caring
At some stage, your caring role may come to an end – either when the person you care for recovers, when they die, or when they leave your care and other people take over the caring role. You may need to deal with grief, and will need to plan for your life after caring.