Husband refuses respite care

I am 56 and working full time and also the only carer for my husband of 73.
My husband has emphysemia , right sided heart failure and panic disorder, I have been his wife for 29 yrs and been his carer for the past 8 yrs,
i am at my witts end, I am mentally and phyisicly exhausted and I have told him this on many occasions but he is either unable or wanting to except this, I have made arrangements for some respite care to give me a break but he now refuses to go, I love him but at the moment I could knock his block off, ive had a nurse from the hospice come and talk to him and on that day he agreed to it but now he has back tracked, HELP what do I do

Strictly speaking, there’s not much you can do except point out to him that he has a choice: short term respite or you collapse and he ends up in a home permanently. Because that’s the way it’s heading.

Let him stay at home with carers and you leave the home. Even if you have to go to work rent a cottage / apartment near your work. At the very least he will see there are alternatives for you.

Maybe he is panicking that he will end up not coming back home? That you might be tricking him into going there and leaving him there.
I very much doubt him being a day visitor there a couple of days to be confident in the place will help because he then has the opportunity to object to the place for whatever reasons.
Lay it on the line to him, you are not getting younger, you are at breaking point and you need a break, that it’s about your care and welfare so that you can care for him as much as it is about his care.

Age and frailty brings fears and worries for their ongoing care with their caregiver.

There was a 20 year gap between my parents and my mother ended up caring for my dad in his last few years, we thought through old age wearing out, we discovered it was cancer but the last couple of years he lost sense of time and 20 mins or so could seem like a few hours. Both were retired so she didn’t have work to wear her out and he wasn’t dependent on her, however I can appreciate your position.

I hope you can get your respite.

I suspect he always felt that he was in charge of what happened.
Wrong, he can only stay home with your help now.
YOU are in charge now. If you want to go away on holiday, book it and whatever happens, you must go.
If you don’t, then you are going to end up so ill long term residential will be the only option.
Or divorce.
If yo love him enough to be full time carer, he should love you enough to care for your health, by letting you go on holiday.

Agree with all the comments but you have all my sympathy. My husband is much older than me and is now 83. He too would not even consider respite care when I needed the re wiring done for safety reasons. In the end we just went for the lighting re wiring but really we should have had the whole lot done, and I will end up paying much more than I should have done. I think men of a certain age get so used to ‘being in charge’ they are so intrinsically selfish.

Since you are financially independent and not ‘have’ to care for him then please go on your holiday. You could phone the GP Surgery and say you are leaving a ‘vulnerable adult’ for a pre booked holiday necessary for YOUR Mental health. You could also maybe phone the Hospice and see if anyone there would talk to him and stress that if you decide you cannot or will not care for him any longer, or your health wont allow you to continue, then he will have no option but a residential home.

This must be so difficult for you. It must also be difficult for him as he gets panic attacks. However, you must have a break but it’s getting him to realise this. Do you have any other family?

My friend is in a similar situation with her Mum who has dementia. She is the youngest of 3 and still lives with her Mum. Her 2 siblings live nearby and will always sit with their Mum while she goes out for an hour or two but now the Mum is not happy unless her youngest daughter is with her all the time. She feels she must therefore not go out but it is making her very isolated and rundown.

Have you any carers support groups near you or dementia support groups where you might get tips off other carers as to how they coped with this problem?

Thank you all. We have no family to speak of, I have 2 sister’s that live over 400 miles away the give phone support, and a couple of good friends who drag me out on occasions, Den never stops me from doing what I want but he is very needy. Going on holiday is not practical as I have a dog that bites strangers ( he is a rescue) 3 geriatric cats and an old horse :joy:
We have had many conversations and had the hospice nurse over to discuss the matter and I know he is frightened, all I can do is hope he gives in before I end up in care myself
So thank you for you thoughts, it’s nice to know I’m not alone

Thinking of you Lorraine. I have cats so for me to get any kind of break, my husband would have to go to respite, as no way could I leave the cats. It is sad you are so isolated. I do understand your husband is frightened but surely if he loves you, he must understand you are near breaking point?

The only thing to fear is fear itself.
Can you not have an afternoon together at the hospice? or go in the morning for the day and you step out for an hour or two? do it by stealth with that introduction. He might actually like it and then coming home together he might be reassured.
Maybe you have suggested it already, let it drop a little while so it doesn’t become a battle and then try again or just take him there and have an afternoon there together or day there.

You have got your hands full with your dog, cats and horse as well.
You really do need some down time.
I hope you can get him to agree.