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  • Author or Editor: Sarah Judd-Lam x
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Australia has been less impacted by COVID-19 than most other countries, partly due to strong preventive responses by government. While these measures have resulted in lower rates of infection, family and friend carers have been disproportionately affected by public health orders. The heightened risk of transmission to vulnerable populations, combined with the impact of economic uncertainty, unclear government communication, significant restrictions on movement and personal contact, and the reduction in formal support services, have highlighted pre-existing, systemic shortcomings in support for carers. The COVID-19 pandemic left many carers more stressed, isolated and worse off financially.

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The health and social ‘after-effects’ of caring are well established, yet the way carers experience pathways out of caring remains under-researched. In this article, we analyse qualitative free-text responses (n = 1,746) from a national survey of Australian carers to explore current and former carers’ concerns, opportunities and preferences around care endings. Our thematic analysis derived three key findings: (1) anticipation and fears for the care recipient; (2) prospects for life after caring; and (3) responsibility, recognition and loss. We engage with scholarship on the moralities of caring to discuss carers’ precarious relational and social positions, and their uncertainties around how caring ends.

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