The 6 Carer Phases

The Carer Life Course identifies six typical phases of the carer’s journey.

Understanding which phase you are in helps you identify the information and support you may need. The time you spend in each phase may vary, and you may cycle backwards and forwards, or go through different phases several times.

Find out more: The 6 carer phases interactive >>

There are also specialised support agencies offering assistance for people who have specific needs, and their carers. To find out more, select the specific resources listed on the right.

Summary of the Phases

Phase 1: Something is wrong

You become aware that something is not quite right with the person needing care, or you may be aware of the illness or condition, but not yet understand it or how to respond.
Phase 1: Something is wrong fact sheet (pdf)

Phase 2: Confirmation

A doctor or health care professional confirms something is not right, and you learn the extent of the illness or condition.
Phase 2: Confirmation fact sheet (pdf)

Phase 3: Adjusting

The initial shock wears off and you begin to adjust and readjust your life to meet the needs of caring.
Phase 3: Adjusting fact sheet (pdf)

Phase 4: Managing

You learn how to incorporate the carer role into your everyday life, having more experience with the illness or condition and its course in treatment or recovery.
Phase 4: Managing fact sheet (pdf)

Phase 5: Purposeful coping

While you still face the same issues as Phases 3 and 4, you have more knowledge and skills. Your carer role is now proactive and purposeful.
Phase 5: Purposeful coping fact sheet (pdf)

Phase 6: End of caring role

Your caring role ends as a result of decisions made by yourself, the person needing care, or because of that person’s death. While the caring role ends, this doesn’t represent the end of the impact of caring.
Phase 6: End of caring role fact sheet (pdf)

Find out more: The 6 carer phases interactive >>