Don't want to care for my husband any more

Am I obliged to care for my husband when I’ve had enough. He won’t agree to going into a care home for a couple of weeks to give me a break and I am so fed up. I’ve had a carer’s assessment and hopefully at some point in the next few months I’ll get 3 hours a week respite care. Husband is no longer interested in doing daily exercises and just sits and watches the TV or sleeps. Every time I mention exercises etc he just tells me to go away. I wish I could escape. Don’t know how much longer I can continue. How do people cope?


Unless he is assessed as no longer having mental capacity - you can’t decide he needs to go into a care home, unfortunately.

You can however refuse to care for him. You will need to request an updated Needs Assessment that takes this into account and the extra care he will need should be covered by the Needs assessment.

If he won’t go into a care home to give you a break, would you consider going away instead? I know its not the same as having the house to yourself, but it might be a compromise. He has the paid carers coming in to change him, could they prepare his breakfast, a microwave meal for lunch and sandwiches etc for his supper. I can’t remember if he is self funding or social care pay for his care? But you could request an extra visit for him each day whilst you are away.

Also, inform social care that you are doing this. It might also make him realise how much you do and decide going into respite next time is a better option.


No advice but sending hugs. I do not want to care for my vicious 83 year old husband anymore - been doing it since Jan 2013 officially but unofficially longer. Melly is sadly correct though - if he has mental capacity, you cannot MAKE him go into a care home so you can get a much needed rest.

Melly’s suggestions are good . Could you get away even for a couple of nights? Other option is to try and make local friends. Even getting out for 2 hours can be a godsend and help keep you sane and give you a reason to carry on. Do you have a local Carers Group? You may feel you do not want to socialise with other Carers but concentrate on other things? I chair 2 Book Clubs . Just have a think about what is going on locally and see if anything would work.

Hey, I am not coping too good either, I’m a carer for my mother who is now 67 or 68 i can’t remember and have been doing so fo 10 years.I too am fed up with it as I’ve been doing it so long and I’m not even that good at it. I’ve only just managed to go out on my own and for longer periods but it just isn’t enough for me anymore.

People just keep on telling me to just get out and just leave home but it’s hard because my mum has no-one else and absolutely refuses to go in a care home or have professional carers come in to help her instead of me. She told me that if I left she would just have to struggle on her own and her conditions would get worse.

I understand completely how it is for you, would you like to tell me more about the kind of things you have to do for him ?

It is easy for others to give advice, Lord J but only you can make the decision to leave. I am in a similar position but my husband is much older so sadly I have to wait for nature to take its course.

My only advice is to look into finding a good counselor who has some experience of caring and setting boundries and yes, leaving a very hard situation. This will give you a safe place to look at options re moving forward. Your mother could go on another 20 years. I honestly thought my husband would be dead by now after the brain heamatoma back in 2013, followed by Sepsis/kidney issues in 2016 and the Embolism in 2022, but on and on he goes. I totally get how hard it would be to leave her but she will survive . If you do go, you MUST write to the GP telling them that they have a duty of care to her and you are no longer able to care. It is YOUR life. I get ‘touch love’ too from the members of this Forum and their comments are given to make us ‘think outside the box’ and realise that we do have choices but progressing them wont be easy.

LJ, you have to look at this differently.
Mum will only accept outside carers when you are not there. She will never accept them when she bullies you into staying.

No normal mother would do this, parents should want to see their children leave home, have their own happy lives, marry, have children, their own home.

I’m getting more and more stressed out. I’ve had a carer’s assessment and hopefully will eventually get a couple of hours respite care a week. In the meantime I’m quietly going nuts. I’m not esting properly and can barely get enough calories into my husband. I really don’t want to continue and hate every day. I know there are people far worse off than me. How do you manage to keep going?
On another note, can anyone suggest some really easy lunchtime meals. I hate cooking and just do soup every day. My husband won’t eat bread of any description so sandwiches are out. He also won’t touch energy drinks of any kind. I wonder how long he can keep going. I’m dreadful the winter months.

Two hours respite is simply not enough, but you need to press for it.

Good luck.


Let your GP know how desperate you are feeling and see if he can push for more short breaks for you.

In the same way your husband can refuse to go into respite care, so too, you can also insist on going away. You could let socai care know you are doing this and they/you could arrange care visits for him whilst you are away - if he refuses to let them care for him - that’s his choice. However, he may realise he needs to accept their support.

Re lunch meals. How about tinned lunches - baked beans, tinned spaghetti, macaroni cheese, tinned beans with sausages. Omelettes are quick and easy too. He could have crackers/ crisp breads/ Ryvita instead of bread with cold meat/cheese/tinned fish/ paste. You also serve you both soup - yours with bread and his with noodles instead.


We have a cheap air fryer, and love it. Bacon, sausages, chipolatas, meat pies, cocktail sausage rolls. So quick and easy.


Please look up a local carers group, they could help you with information on charity ‘sitters’ for someone to come round once a week for 2-3 hours, they don’t do any medical care or care, they sit and chat, do a puzzle or watch tv etc with your husband. you might find a couple of charities.

Your situation is rather a different one. You have not made marriage vows for better or worse and in sickness and health, to love and honour etc.

There is no governmental law to keep you there, just emotional blackmail and coercive control.

As Bowlingbun and the others have said in their reply to you.
Your mother would end up getting help, she is a survivor and using you for her survival.

As said before you make the break or stay in the status quo, going round in the same circles and not having your life. The decision is down to you and to make the best of which that is. We do not have a magic wand, all we can do is make suggestions, it is down to you to make choices, decisions and act on them. You can leave and make the best of your life or you can stay and either make the best of it or remain as you are and go in ever decreasing circles.
The choice is yours.

Why won’t he have carers? pride? strangers? After a few visits they won’t be strangers and you can be there the first few visits same with the sitters, you be there the first twenty minutes.

Try popping out just for whatever and be late back for lunch, not too late but late enough for him to be hungry when you serve it to get the point across about a carer being a good thing, however carers aren’t always on time/not always available at the time you need.

Can you afford meals on wheels a few times a week if they are in your area?

If you were living alone how would you eat if you hate cooking? I get it because a friends husband did all the cooking so they could eat because if it didn’t fit in a toaster, she could not cook it, then he was very ill and friends made sets of freezer meals for them and then he died and she had to learn to feed herself.

click into this link for local carers group and scroll down to put your local information in to find one and see if they have information about charity sitters.

small jacket potatoes
do them in the microwave - prick them with a fork a few times first to avoid explosion, check on them and turn them over during cooking - be wary they are like hot coals. Crisp them up in the oven or air fryer or halogen oven.
Lots of options for toppings.

Or if you can be bothered with the effort, cut longways and scoop out, mash the potato with cheese and onion/ham/cooked bacon and spoon back into the skins and grill them to melt the cheese

A cold pork pie cut into 6 served with picallili or pickle and a sliced tomato.

Warmed up quiche.

soft boiled eggs with asparagus soldiers is a springtime treat
try a few oven chips in an air fryer to dip in a soft egg - fried, poached or boiled

On crackers, rice cakes etc as suggested by Melly any sandwich filling
sliced eggs or egg mayo with tomatoes, or cream cheese and celery, various cottage cheese mixes available or make your own. In the supermarket there are lots of pots of sandwich fillers that can be used on crackers etc or to give you ideas.

Try a portion of egg fried rice from the supermarket, heat it up in the microwave.

Regarding lunchtime meals, I recommend ready meals from Aldi, they are reasonably priced and decent. My Mum has those and things like veg samosas/cheese rolls/ sausage rolls etc with a handfull of mixed salad. Or you could boil a pan of pasta and do a stir in sauce etc. If I were you I would go out for a long walk everyday as well. If you really dont want to do it anymore I’d tell social services they will have to get carers in etc and he will have to pay.Also theres nothing to stop you seeing a solicitor and looking at all options and where you go from here as well.

But OP’s husband is being unfair and people have left marriages for a lot less, at the first sign of trouble…

Different issue altogether.
The OP has not raised that issue or put it up for debate and I will respect that by not discussing it.

Ok well that’s fair enough.

I am still at a loss for what to do.

I know it looks clear cut on the outside and telling me to just leave is so easy but I am struggling with this and if it would be the right decisions. Also having that discussion with mum.
Like I said I’ve already had a discussion about leaving and all she keeps doing is saying how I would be abandoning her as everybody else has. She would indeed be all on her own and I can’t just leave.
Now then, if the situation were different and she had a partner, friends or family around but still trying to make me feel guilty for wanting to leave then that’d be different. I’d recognise her selfishness and just go anyway saying that she has others for company and to help her and so there is no excuse for her to keep me here trapped.

I feel trapped because as much as how some of the things she’s said sound like manipulation to make me stay they also make sense because she’s actually scared and worried about me, her one and only last living relative or person in her life, leaving.
She told me I’m just like my dad, use her until something “better” came along.
She’s right if I left I’d be leaving her with nothing at all, as bad as it was at least when my dad left she had me, and her mum and dad, and all our cousins. If I left She told me she’d just struggle on alone doing all the chores and also being lonely.

Anyway I have a lot of concerns and many layers of problems so it’s not as clear cut as just making the decision to leave to have my life. There’s another to think of.

Mum would also tell me that before I leave I would have to sort the house out first: That is a huge thing that I do not wish to deal with

Forgive me, Lord J but why do YOU have to sort the house out if it is HER house and in her name?

If you moved out, you could still see her if you stayed in the area? I would suggest you write to her GP and say they have a ‘duty of care’ to her as you are no longer able to provide day to day care. I would personally send this special delivery and check that it was received!

I know several of us have suggested counselling. Yes it can be expensive and there may be a waiting list for NHS counselling. I totally get how you feel re being trapped - I feel the same but I am much older than you, plus my husband is much older than your mother, and I need to keep my home for the cats to be safe. We are all very sympathetic and I know how very hard it is to make the first move. Could you contact your local ‘Support for Carers’? They may be able to provide a telephone befriender and there are sometimes local groups.