Former Carers Project

West Cork Carers Support Group are delighted to have collaborated with University College Cork and others in a project funded under the Irish Research Council New Foundations Programme entitled;


Through dialogue with former carers, POSTCARE aimed to respond to the issues, challenges and concerns facing former carers via a series of participant led workshops and supports.

The report, launched in UCC, found that post-caregiving involves significant challenges for former family carers, including return to work or education, economic and financial challenges, rebuilding social networks, changed family relationships and dealing with complicated grief and identity rebuilding.

This participatory action research (PAR) project seeks to highlight the experiences and preferences of former family carers to inform and address this policy and practice deficit. Led by Dr. Carol Kelleher and  Dr Jacqui O’ Riordan, ( UCC/ ISS21), and in collaboration with Care Alliance Ireland,  Family Carers Ireland (FCI) and  West Cork Carers Support Group,  the specific purpose was to illuminate and give voice to the experiences and needs of former family carers in the postcaring/ care transitions period – that is, when the caregiving role has ceased.

POSTCARE provides nuanced knowledge of family carers’ post-caregiving experiences of loss, role and identity transition upon cessation of the caring role.

Specifically, this research presents former family carers’ perspectives to assist carer organisations’ and policy makers’ response to aim 1.3.5 of the National Carers’ Strategy: ‘to review existing transition arrangements for carers at the end of their caring role’.

Face-to-face semi-structured and video interviews focusing on 20 former family carers’ experiences were conducted. As part of the project,  two short peer support videos were made with former carers who participated in the POSTCARE project, a one minute film and a 9 minute film; see below.

The report found that a one-size-fits-all approach in terms of supports or social policy is not appropriate; rather multiple levels of support throughout and beyond the caregiving life course are required. There is, therefore, a need to consider the multiple and cumulative transitions throughout and beyond the caregiving life course, including identity rebuilding.

The full report is available to read here:




West Cork Carers Support Group and all the collaborative partners wish to especially thank the former family carers who participated in the interviews, workshops and filming and generously gave of their time to support the project. It was a great honour and privilege to hear your experiences and views on how carers and former carers might best be supported. Should you have any further queries with regard to the project, please contact Dr Carol Kelleher (, M: 086 806 8729) or Sally Back on 027-53848.