When the caring role changes

For many carers, the time when your life changes and you are no longer a carer can be the most difficult.

If the person you’ve been caring for has recovered from illness and no longer needs your care, you may be thinking about:

  • taking time for yourself
  • building up new networks and skills, returning to learning or work or meeting new people
  • dealing with concerns about the health problem recurring

If the person you are looking after has moved elsewhere, for example, into residential care, you may be facing issues such as:

  • coping with being alone
  • practically and emotionally keeping in touch with the person cared for
  • negotiating with those supporting the person cared for
  • feelings of guilt
  • feelings of sadness and loss.

If the person you are looking after has died, you may be facing:

  • feelings of sadness and loss
  • financial problems caused by factors such as funeral costs and having to deal with benefits.
  • huge changes in your life
  • feelings of guilt
  • lack of confidence/isolation. You may have lost contact with friends or social activities because of your caring role or you may have done a lot of things with the person you looked after.

Recommended reading:

Past Caring The Beginning Not the End by Audrey Jenkinson.

When the person you care for dies

Immediately after a death there are a lot of practical things to do such as registering the death and arranging the funeral at a time when you may be finding it very difficult to cope. 

Here is some general guidance on the practical things to do when the person you care for dies.

Medical certificate and formal notice: inform the doctor treating the deceased of the death.  If the doctor can certify the cause of death he or she will provide a medical certificate and formal notice.

Coroner: If the doctor cannot certify the cause of death he or she will refer the case to the Coroner.  If the doctor treating the deceased did not see him or her either after death or within 14 days before death, the death must be reported to the Coroner.

Register the death: The death has to be registered within five days (unless the registrar says this time limit can be extended).  The death must be registered by the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths for the sub-district in which it occurred.  For more information contact the General Register office website or Oxfordshire County Council Registration service. See numbers below.

The death certificate: The death certificate is available to you but you will have to pay a fee. You may need a death certificate for the will, any pension claims, insurance policies, savings bank certificates and premium bonds.  You may find it practical to ask for several copies as the price increases if you need a copy later on.

Funeral arrangements: Check that the death does not have to be reported to the Coroner, this could affect the date the funeral can be held.  Find out if there is a will, there may be requests about funeral arrangements.

Help with the cost of the funeral: You may be entitled to help with the cost if you are on low income. Find out more. 

Bereavement benefits: You may be able to claim bereavement benefit. Find out more.

Useful contacts

Oxfordshire County Registration Service

Oxfordshire District Register Office,1 Tidmarsh Lane,Oxford,OX1 1NS
Tel: 0845 129 5900
Fax: 01865 722017


Cruse Bereavement Care

Support for the bereaved, including counselling

Daytime helpline

  • Tel: 0844 477 9400
  • Oxford01865 245398
  • Banbury 01295 266350

See Saw

Grief support for children in Oxfordshire

Oxfordshire Carers’ Forum

Voluntary organisation made up of Carers and ex-Carers.

  • Tel: 01235 520440
  • Fax: 01235 533966

National Association of Widows

Tel  024 7663 4848 (answer phone at times)

The Relatives and Residents Association

Supporting those in residential care and their families

Tel: 020 7359 8136

Compassionate Friends

Supporting bereaved parents and their families after a child has died.

Tel: 0845 123 2304 (1000 – 1600 and 1900 – 2200)


Please note: The organisations listed on this page are not endorsed or recommended by Oxfordshire County Council and the contact details are provided for information only.

Please feel free to contact any of the organisations on this fact sheet yourself. If required, Carers Oxfordshire can also help you further. You can contact them on 0845 050 7666, Monday to Thursday 0830-1700, Friday 0830-1600

Information links

Carers Trust

Help, advice, online community

NHS Choices

Guidance, help and support. Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053 

Oxfordshire County Council

Social and health care information